'Potter,' 'Rings' double Warners market share

BERLIN — Germany had a record-breaking box office last year thanks to a dramatic end-of-the-year boost from “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

More than 163 million viewers went to the movies in Germany last year, an increase of 20% over 2000, according to ACNielsen EDI.

Prior to the release of Warners’ double whammy, the German Federal Film Board had reported a 15% increase in the first nine months of 2001. Official figures from the board are due out in February.

“Harry Potter” has grossed 64,771,662 euros ($57,816,787) since its release Nov. 22, while “Lord of the Rings” amassed $33,532,880 in its first 12 days.

In addition to a record year, the weekend of Dec. 27-30 saw 4.25 million cinemagoers fill hardtops across Germany, the most business ever on a single weekend.

While UIP held on to the top rung among the biggest distributors, Warner, with its two mega hits, more than doubled its market share to 18.8% from last year’s 8.3%. UIP saw its market share drop 1.7% to 20.5%.

BVI came in third with 15.1%, up 5.6% from the previous year thanks mostly to “What Women Want,” which pulled in $35 million, as well as “Pearl Harbor’s” $28 million take.

Comedy-western “Manitou’s Shoe,” meanwhile, kept local distrib Constantin in league with the big players and in fourth place with a 9.9% share, while modest successes like “Amelie,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Legally Blonde” helped Fox round out the top five with a market share of 7.8%.

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