The cast and director of ‘Patrol 2’  at Fajr Film Festival. From left: Bahareh Afshari, Saeed Soheili, Hamid Farrokhnejad, Asadollah Yekta, Safar Kashkouli,  Saed Soheili and Mehdi Mahani
The cast and director of ‘Patrol 2’  at Fajr Film Festival. From left: Bahareh Afshari, Saeed Soheili, Hamid Farrokhnejad, Asadollah Yekta, Safar Kashkouli,  Saed Soheili and Mehdi Mahani

Iran Cinema Sales Up, Viewers Down

Despite $2 million rise in box-office, the number of viewers declined by 670,000 in the first month of this year

Iran Cinema Sales Up, Viewers Down

Movie sales in the first month of the current fiscal, March 21-April 20, have increased by $500,000 compared to the same period last year, going from $7 million to $7.5 million, said Ali Sartipi, head of Association of Iran Cinema Distributors.
Although this indicates a favorable growth for Iran’s film industry, according to data provided by Sartipi, the number of viewers has declined, from 3.91 million filmgoers last year to 3.24 million this year, Cinematicket.org reported.
Sartipi, however, believes that the movies slated to hit the screens later this year will attract more fans and therefore their total annual number will surpass the corresponding figure in the previous year.
“Despite the $2 million rise in box-office, unfortunately we saw a decline of 670,000 viewers in the first month of this year.”
But he was optimistic that when popular movies, including ‘The Whale 2’, ‘Subdue’, ‘Ferrari’, ‘Hot Summer’ and ‘Sara and Aida’ among others, are screened, the number of film buffs will go up.
Six films started Norouz (Persian New Year) screenings this year, a number equaling movies shown during the last new year season. The variety of genres is also similar and in both years a mix of comedies, political thrillers and social dramas were screened.
Some observers say hike in ticket prices caused the decrease in the cinema audiences. Last year the average ticket price was $1.76. For the current year, the prices have increased by 30% and reached the equivalent of $2.3.

 Record Broken
Four out of six films shown during Norouz ended up among the top 10 annual box office. ‘I Am Not Salvador’, a comedy directed by Manoochehr Hadi, was the best of all, grossing $4.2 million. The movie was finally ranked second in the annual list, standing after Asghar Farhadi’s drama ‘The Salesman’ (screened last fall) which took in $4.3 million in four months across Iran and became the best-seller in Iran cinema history.
However, two of the comedies screened this year, ‘Patrol 2’ directed by Saeed Soheili and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Jaunty’ by Peiman Qasemkhani, have both done better than ‘I Am Not Salvador’ in the box office and ‘Patrol 2’ has even broken the record of Farhadi’s film.
‘Patrol 2’ has claimed the title, selling over $4.4 million in 40 days, just one third of the screening duration of ‘The Salesman’.
Hamid Farrokhnejad, Poulad Kimiai, Saed Soheili (the director’s son), Bahareh Afshari, Tarlan Parvaneh, Safar Kashkouli, Asadollah Yekta, and Mehdi Mahani are in the cast of ‘Patrol 2’. The movie debuted at Fajr Film Festival in February and was welcomed by the public.
So far, 1.26 million people in Tehran have seen Soheili’s comedy. If the same reception continues until the end of its showing (for at least two months), it can even get the title of the movie with the highest number of audiences in Tehran. The record is currently held by Masoud Dehnamaki’s ‘The Exiled 2’, with a total number of 2.1 million people.

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