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No Gold at the End of Iranian Film Industry Rainbow

Domestic Economy Desk
While Iranian cinema takings stood at a record high of 1.63 trillion rials ($43.22 million) last year, up 123% compared to the year before, 55% and 56% of the total gross and number of viewers respectively owe to only seven films from among a total of 65
The highest-grossing movie of last year was Asghar Farhadi’s academy award-winning film “The Salesman”, which earned 161.05 billion rials ($4.29 million) after 18 weeks of screening in local movie theaters.The highest-grossing movie of last year was Asghar Farhadi’s academy award-winning film “The Salesman”, which earned 161.05 billion rials ($4.29 million) after 18 weeks of screening in local movie theaters.
On average, each Iranian went to the movies 0.3 times last year

Although the Iranian cinema saw significant growth last fiscal year (March 2016-17), the industry continues to grapple with a grave crisis, the Film Producers Guild of Iran declared.

A report released by FPG shows Iranian cinema takings stood at a record high of 1.63 trillion rials ($43.22 million) last year, up 123% compared with the previous year. The total number of viewers stood at 23.6 million during the period.

At first glance, the growth might seem striking, but a closer look reveals that Iran’s film industry is far from enjoying economic prosperity.

The report shows the 55% and 56% rise in the total gross and number of viewers respectively owe to only seven films from among a total of 65 films released last year. These seven most-viewed films attracted an audience size of over one million.

This is while 66% of all the screened films were viewed by less than 250,000 people and put the producers in the red.

On average, each Iranians went to the movies 0.3 times last year.

The highest-grossing movie of the year was Asghar Farhadi’s academy award-winning film “The Salesman”, which earned 161.05 billion rials ($4.29 million) after 18 weeks of screening in local movie theaters.

Financial Tribune discussed the underlying issues and economic side of Iranian film industry with Mohammad Sadeq Azin, a veteran executive producer with about 44 years of experience in the industry.

To him, a major setback in attracting more people to cinema halls is associated with the insufficient number of cinemas in Iran.

“Currently, Iran has 440-450 movie theaters whereas twice this number is necessary,” he said.

According to Azin, 67, only a few movie theaters are up to acceptable standards when it comes to high quality audio and video equipment, comfortable seats and above all, a good film.

He noted that insufficient advertisement is another reason why many people miss out the chance to go to the movies.

“In Iran, only a small share [of the budget] is invested in advertisements due to high costs,” he added.

The film producer believes the number of medium- and low-income moviegoers has drastically declined in the past few years.

Azin said authorities should help film producers by purchasing the rights to screen their films.

According to FPG, improving the economy of film industry is only possible by producing good films that cater to all kinds of tastes and ages.

Instead of taking part in film productions, related organizations must take measures to fulfill the need for more and better cinemas.

According to the guild report, one of the deep-rooted problems in Iran’s movie industry is that producers seek to garner big box-office success by casting popular actors without paying any attention to the story and content.

Big names do not guarantee box-office returns, but exciting and appealing stories do, it concluded.

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