Iranian Hits
The Key to Conquering Box Office
by Behzad Eshghi- Sahinhin Shajari Kohan - Mehzad Danesh

  Changes in film sale records are a major event in every country. The long list of bestselling films of the Iranian cinema can be viewed from various angles. Films can be put on the list according to their production date; or more favorites ones with higher artistic values may be shortlisted; or in view of higher ticket prices in recent years, films can be assessed in terms of the audiences that they have attracted. Films can be also arranged in terms of commercial success or their genres….
Sales figures, however, are a priority in any analysis of bestselling movies. That is, regardless of artistic values, high sale can make a film stand out in history of the Iranian cinema. Before the Islamic Revolution, box office returns of commercial films were determined on the basis of relatively clear-cut rules: all bestsellers of that time were love dramas depicting couples from different social classes that went through hardships to prove their love. This was the main theme of even spy and police movies, comedies, as well as action and musical ones. Therefore, dramatic structure was one of the main factors determining film sales before the revolution. During 1980s, however, and after the outbreak of war with Iraq and subsequent limitations for filmmakers, action movies were the sole genre which drew audiences to movie theaters. They were replaced by comedies in the late 1980s. After the end of war and relative improvement in cultural conditions, there was room for more subjects which the Iranian cinema could not have approached before. Comedies gradually became critical and moviegoers got used to films which took a satirical approach to sanctities and taboos. Thus, joking with the war, religious figures and political personalities started in comedies. Following the election of former president Mohammad Khatami and his reformist government, criticism took a sharper turn and social movies were more common. In the late 1990s, however, conservatism governed the Iranian cinema and bestselling comedies were usually worthless films which tried to bank on their sexual and lame jokes. This trend still continues and nobody knows till when the Iranian moviegoers will prefer comic genre over others.
Here, various periods in history of the Iranian commercial cinema have been described along with attractive features of films made in those periods.


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