MADRID - Icing a very large Christmas cake in Brazil, "Till Luck Do Us Part 2," a big mainstream comedy from hot Brazilian production house Gullane Filmes, romped to a first frame R$ 7 million ($3.0 million) in Brazil over Dec. 27-29.
That's by far the best opening for any Brazilian film this year, and 87% up on the first part, which went on to gross $16.3 million in 2012, becoming the biggest Brazilian movie of the year.
The bow tops a bumper year for Brazilian box office in general - for Hollywood, independent and Brazilian fare. Once more, Brazil is on track to punch an all-time record record B.O. in grosses, as its government announced over Christmas an unprecedented $170 million subsidy package for movie and TV development, production and distribution.
Out-of-the-gate results for "Luck" vindicate its makers' decision to largely shift the action out of Brazil to Las Vegas, with the spendthrift Brazilian family of the first part, having blown a lottery win on a spending binge, now losing an inheritance gambling the night away in Las Vegas.
Like other Brazilian comedy juggernauts - the "Upside Down" sex comedy franchise whose two parts have grossed a combined $40.7 million to date in Brazil - "Luck" cashes in on the presence of a TV star - here, the rotund bellied comic Leandro Hassum as the father - touches a national nerve about the cost of living in new Brazil, and, here enrolls U.S. legend, Jerry Lewis, in a cameo as a bellboy.
The move is another windfall for Paris Filmes - Lionsgate's distributor in Brazil and the biggest distribution house in Brazil in 2012, studios included - that co-financed and released "Luck" with frequent distrib-production partner Downtown Filmes.
It's moreover another hit for Gullane co-producers Globo Filmes and RioFilme, which also teamed on the original and have partnered to produce and promote recent hits "Meu passado me condena: O Filme" ($15.1 million), "Did You Score?"($12.4 million) and "Upside Down 2" ($25.4 million).
Get-go grosses confirm "Luck" director Roberto Santucci as the King Midas of Brazilian blockbusters. A Columbia College Hollywood alum, Santucci worked as an editorial assistant on Ed Zwick's "Legends of the Fall" before returning to his native Brazil to helm both parts of both "Luck" and "Upside Down."
"January is the biggest month of the year for B.O. in Brazil, so prospects for 'Till Luck Do Us 2' in Brazil in 2014 are sparkling. It might end up between R$50 million and R$60 million ($21 million - $25 million) in gross B.O," said RioFilme COO Adrien Muselet.
He added that 2013 has been the best year since the '70s for Brazilian movies, with nine movies selling over one million admissions and a market share for local prods that should come in somewhere between 18% and 19%.
Brazilian box office analyst Filme B still has to announce final figures for Brazil in 2014. But with Brazilian movies chalking up about 27.5 million admissions and huge scores for U.S. juggernauts - Disney's "Iron Man 3": $47.9 million; U's "Despicable Me 2": $35.5 million; Disney's "Thor: the Dark World": $27.4 million - total box office attendance in Brazil should haul past 150 million admissions for the first year in modern times.
Brazilian movies also received another Christmas present this year as Manoel Rangel, president of government film board ANCINE, and culture minister Marta Suplicy announced a north of R$400 million ($169.3 million) 2014 state aid package for Brazil's Fundo Setorial Audiovisual (FSA), its main subsidy fund.
Equal to the sum of all allocations for film and TV series production/distribution in the four previous FSA calls-for-projects, the new financing mechanisms rep "an unprecedented initiative in the history of public policies for the Brazilian audiovisual sector," ANCINE announced.
While maintaining existing financing lines, ANCINE will bow new funding measures, detailed Friday. These include an automatic subsidy for companies, tabbed against B.O. results, plus coin for festival fare movies with "innovative language and artistic relevance" as well as development coin for projects and formats.
"Our aim is to turn Brazil into one of the major audiovisual markets in the world, and I think we're on the right track," Suplicy enthused.
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