The Spanish film industry lost three million spectators in 2004 according to figures released by the Spanish Academy of Arts and Cinema yesterday.
Although the overall number of cinema goers rose last year from 137 million in 2003 to 140 million in 2004, the spectators chose to see films made in Hollywood rather than films produced by the Spanish films industry. The number of spectators who went to see a US produced film rose by 6 million (from 115 million to 121 million), whereas the number of film goers who chose to see a Spanish film fell from 20.7 million to 17.7.
The chairwoman of the Spanish Film Academy put the disappointing figures down to the difficulty Spanish producers have competing with the kind budget enjoyed by Hollywood productions, and she denied that it was an indication that the quality of Spanish cinema, which has undergone something of a revival in recent years, was on the slide.
One of the most successful Spanish films of 2004 , The Sea Inside (Mar adentro) was awarded the golden globe for the best foreign film earlier this month, and will be representing Spain in the Oscar ceremony t his year.