Local films still top Moroccan box office

Behind Closed Doors, Road to Kabul and Sara sell most tickets in 2014


Local films still top Moroccan box office

Morrocan films continue to do best in Moroccan cinemas, according to a list of the 30 most viewed films for the first nine months of 2014, reports Telquel.

Behind Closed Doors, Mohammed Bensouda’s second feature film exploring sexual harassment in the workplace comes first with 96,000 viewers.

Road to Kabul, released in 2012, takes second place, with almost 87,000 tickets sold in 2014. This makes it one of the most successful Moroccan films of all time. The film, directed by Brahim Chkiri, topped the box office in 2012 and came third the year after.

Third place this year goes to Sara, a feature film by Saïd Naciri that attracted 50,000 cinema-goers.

Only in fourth place does a foreign film appear: Wolf of Wall Street has sold almost 30,000 tickets since the beginning of 2014. Martin’s Scorsese’s latest film has so far racked up 300 million dollars worldwide.

While Egyptian and Indian films used to enjoy widespread popularity among the Moroccan public, this is no longer the case. Dhoom 3 was the only Indian film in the rankings, with 30,000 tickets sold. Much further down the rankings, Egyptian feature film Qalb al Assad barely managed 10,000 tickets.

This decline in viewing figures for Egyptian and Indian films may be down to the closure of a significant number of neighbourhood cinemas that have traditionally screened them.

Indeed, the number of cinemas continued to decline in Morocco this year. In 1990, Morocco boasted 225 cinemas, but today that figure stands at just 31. 

“The root cause is piracy, which is a cancer for cinema,” explains Hassan Belkady, who owns the Rif Cinema, ABC and the Ritz in Casablanca. 

"Cinemas in Morocco are overtaxed with a VAT rate of 20%. In other countries, the rate is no higher than 7%.”

“Those cinema owners who are still left in the business do it out of passion, and cannot make a living from it,” says the cinema owner, who is himself a practicing dentist.

“It's the working class cinemas that are most badly affected, since they rarely have the means to renovate their premises,” says Mahamed Alaoui, vice president of the Moroccan Chamber of Cinemas.


Source: Telquel

Translation: Simon Pickstone

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