German B.O. on fire

BERLIN — The hot German box office set new records in the first half of 1997, with admissions rising by 10.2% compared with the same period of the previous year, and revenues increasing by 14.8%.

According to figures released by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) on Tuesday, 66.6 million tickets were sold in Germany in the first six months of 1997, topping the previous record of 61.4 million set in 1994. German box offices took in $375 million between January and June, up from $327 million in the first half of 1996.

German movies had a 23.4% market share in the first six months of the year, up from 19.5% in the first half 1996. A total of 15.2 million people went to see a German production between January and June, 4 million more than in the first half of 1996.

These results were achieved without the help of a major blockbuster: No single pic attracted more than 4 million visitors in the first six months of 1997.

Even better

With the traditionally strong fall season coming up, the second half of the year promises to be even better: “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” had the fourth best start in Germany on Aug. 7, and expectations are high for movies like “Men in Black” and “Face/Off.”

The best half-year performers were German-lingo films. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Rossini” and “Kleines Arschloch” (The Little Bastard) were the only pics to pass the 3 million admissions mark.

According to FFA statistics, the number of screens in Germany rose from 4,070 at the end of 1996 to 4,097 in June 1997.

While 81 screens closed in the first half of the year, 108 new screens — including eight multiplexes with 68 screens — opened for business. The total number of theaters in Germany dropped from 2,003 in December 1996 to 1,971 in June 1997.

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