The undesired reflect in the mirror
The market has 632 million potential customers. More than 400 million are spanish speakers and the rest, Portuguese speakers. It is Latin America. Any other industrial sector would stick to numbers like that. And yet, the cinema of the area, for very different reasons, does not just find its way to this vast public. For decades, Hispanic-American films have failed to engage viewers beyond national boundaries. Yes, market shares grow in each country. But why does not an Argentine watch Colombian films? Why a Spanish is not interested in Mexican movies? Or a Uruguayan does not approach Chilean films? It is valid for any of the 22 nations that make up the area, and they have - except two - the common Spanish language, a powerful weapon that should pave the premieres of some countries in their neighbors but reality is pretty different.
In 2015 in those 22 countries, 791 works of own production were released, with 81.9 million spectators. A figure far removed from the 4,355 American films released that year in the area, according to the Ibero-American Film Yearbook, Barlovento Comunicación and MRC. Worst of all is that Hollywood films saw - and occupied the majority of the market - in the entire region while those 791 films reached mostly local screens: they were not exported. It is enough with the Spanish example: in 2015 Latin American films accounted for 2.1% of the long films exhibited in the country. And they added 0.2% of the viewers, just about 167,000, according to the latest SGAE Yearbook, below Australian cinema among others. That is to say, it has received more public Afternoon for the anger, to choose the less seen of the five aspirants to Goya for better film of this year, than all the Latin American films projected in the rooms in 2015.
Either way we are still obsessed with North American movie and with our trunked dream of being or believing we are North Americans or we have stopped believing in Latin America as a region capable of building a respectable film industry and our prejudices about our own productions dissuade us from watching them.
It is not about not being critic about the films made in Latin America, because undoubtedly critic implies growth for the whole region, but giving opinion with arguments about the films we have already seen.
Of course, there are movies with weak plots or maybe weak productions, but at the end we have weak productions worldwide and not as a rule for Latin America.