The death of the multiplex is a story that pervades contemporary cinema culture, especially in the Western world.
With affordable 4K TVs, wide-ranging, high-quality content available via streaming services, and increasing reports of unpleasant cinema experiences, many viewers are likely to have a better viewing experience at home than at the movies.
While box offices grosses have remained relatively consistent in the US and throughout Europe due to increased ticket prices, attendance has continued a downward trend in recent decades.
Over the first half of 2016 in the Czech Republic, however, things have been up at the multiplex. Way up. Not only have first-half box office totals risen in comparison to recent years, but attendance has been its highest in over two decades.
Total revenues in the country have hit over 900 million CZK in the first half of the year, up nearly a hundred million crowns over the same period last year. And attendance has soared to 226,865, the highest it’s been since 1993.
What’s the highest-grossing movie so far this year in the Czech Republic? You might guess Captain America: Civil War, or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, films that dominate worldwide box office results.
But you’d be wrong, with the latest Marvel movie coming in at number 9, and the DC effort down at 13. Family-friendly films such as Zootropolis, The Jungle Book, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip also showed up in the top ten, but not at the top.
Instead, Czech films have thus far dominated the 2016 box office. More than 400,000 people turned up to see the historical drama Lída Baarová, which also led in total revenues with 52.5 million CZK.
After the surprise 18-rated hit Deadpool, which came in at number 2, the next two films were also local hits: The Theory of the Tiger and Padesátka, both of which were seen by just shy of 300,000 people in the Czech Republic over the first half of 2016 (including 2015 numbers, Padesátka, which was released on Christmas Eve, even bests Lída Baarová in attendance and box office results).
While cinema attendance has declined in many countries in recent years, it has continued an upward resurgence in the Czech Republic since 2000. And Czech films are paving the way.