Ukrainian films that earned the most at the box office in early 2023
In the first half of 2023, the Ukrainian box office offered a diverse palette of cinematic masterpieces that won the hearts of audiences and brought significant commercial success. Let's find out how the films gained popularity and what factors contributed to their success
The Ukrainian film distribution in the first half of 2023 was marked by significant achievements, offering viewers a variety of cinematic masterpieces. During this period, several films gained great popularity and significant commercial success, becoming real box office leaders.
Distribution companies such as Kinomania, Film.ua Group, Arthouse Traffic and Adastra Cinema provided Forbes with exclusive data on the most successful films that earned the most in the Ukrainian box office during this period. Here's a look at these films and how they became so successful in the country's cinemas.
Which films earned the most at the Ukrainian box office in the first half of 2023?
The movie Mavka. The Forest Song" of Ukrainian cinema was a great success, outperforming the multi-billion dollar box office collection Avatar: The Way of the Water".
In addition to Mavka, the other top films are Luxembourg, Luxembourg, which has surpassed even Super Mario Brothers in the movies in popularity.
According to Natalia Baidan, CEO of Planeta Kino, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, cinema attendance in Ukraine dropped by 65% compared to the successful year of 2019. In February 2022, only 16 out of 121 cinemas were operating in the country, while Ukrainian producers refrained from releasing new projects and foreign companies did not provide content.
At the beginning of 2023, cinemas gradually resumed their work, but their operation was limited by power outages, alarms, and curfews.
In particular, in winter, the number of visitors to Multiplex decreased due to the distribution of summonses near the cinemas. Emergency situations have become more common, which affects Planeta Kino's profits. In Lviv, cinemas are constantly being "mined," according to Baidan.
What did Ukrainians watch in early 2023?
Although foreign releases were beneficial for cinemas, they did not always meet expectations. For example, the movie Guardians of the Galaxy did not reach its box office targets, and Fast and Furious managed to reach the target only with effort.
According to Baidan, the Flash movie also failed to reach the expected level of success.
However, in the first half of 2023, cinemas still managed to make money. The three most popular films in Ukraine this year are Avatar: The Way of the Water, Mavka. The Forest Song" and "Guardians of the Galaxy 3".
According to Volodymyr Kushnarev, distribution manager at Kinomania, these films have common features, such as high quality, well-known franchise brands, high expectations and powerful advertising campaigns both in Ukraine and around the world.
The movie "Mavka. The Forest Song" has set many records and has become the highest-grossing Ukrainian film. Even in the competition with Western animation, it successfully competed without being affected by the release of the movie The Super Mario Brothers in the Movies. Usually, films in the same genre "eat" each other at the box office, but in this case, Mavka proved to be a strong competitor, says Baidan.
Currently, The Nymph is in its 16th week of release, and its box office receipts amount to UAH 151.5 million.
Which films are in the top?
The best-selling film at the box office remains Avatar: The Way of the Water, which grossed UAH 201.8 million. Usually, the number of tickets sold is more indicative than the total box office amount, as the cost of tickets can vary due to changes in the exchange rate, as Iryna Kostiuk, the producer of Mavka, said. In this case, Avatar is also in the lead, with 1,215,598 tickets sold compared to 1,209,104 tickets for Ukrainian animation.
In the top ten most popular films, the majority belong to foreign releases that have been very successful in the global box office. Ukrainian cinema is gradually gaining momentum. According to a survey by Gradus Research, before the invasion of Ukrainian films, 29% of the Ukrainian audience watched them, and now this share has increased to 33%. In general, Ukrainian films account for 27% of the total national box office, says Victoria Yarmoshchuk, CEO of FILM.UA Group.
For comparison, in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the highest box office in Ukraine was achieved by The Avengers: Endgame" with UAH 154 million, which is roughly the same as Avatar's current performance. The most successful Ukrainian film, Crazy Wedding 2, grossed UAH 41.3 million, which is almost four times less than the current leader, Mavka.
The seventh most popular film in 2023 was Luxembourg, Luxembourg, directed by Antonio Lukic, which brought in UAH 5 million for the Planeta Kino network. Natalia Baidan admits that they did not expect such high fees. The network was betting on the success of the action movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania, but it grossed only UAH 6 million.
Cinemas and distributors are expecting promising new releases in the box office. Among Ukrainian releases, they are betting on Dovbush by Oles Sanin. The Kinomania film distribution company is waiting for the start of the distribution of Dune: Part Two".
According to Kushnarev, the topic of expelling invaders from their native land is extremely relevant. The company also considers Indiana Jones and the Relic of Destiny and Barbie to be promising, as they are of great interest on social media and have a star cast.
Read more about 10 movies for those who want to learn more about Ukraine here.
We remind you! Ukrainian-made films are very popular. Despite the challenges, they continue to make a significant contribution to world cinema. Find out more about 8 talented Ukrainian directors who create exciting films here.
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