Homemade pics more popular than ever

BERLIN — A record 19.7% surge rocketed Germany’s box office to new heights last year, and local pics accounted for an 18.4% market share, the best ever.

Total box office sales for the territory in 2001 were €987,245,306 ($858,474,179), and Germany’s 16.7% increase in attendance was far greater than that of France (11.4%), the U.K. (9.5%), and the U.S. (9.5%).

“It was an outstanding year for the German film market,” Rolf Baehr, chairman of Germany’s federal film board, said.

The marked increase could not be traced to a single cause, Baehr added, but was a result of numerous factors, including more multiplexes around the country and the box office success of Teutonic comedy blockbuster “Manitu’s Shoe” – which took $52 million.

Meanwhile, German Culture Minister Julian Nida-Ruemelin has spoken out in favor of more federal support for local film and condemned the flow of cash to Hollywood.

“That German money finances one-quarter to one-fifth of Hollywood films isn’t right,” he said. “We have to do something about that.”

Describing the German film industry as under-financed and with the lowest film budgets in Europe, Nida-Ruemelin said he wanted to increase state subsidies and encourage more investment in cinema from public and private broadcasters.

“Our producers don’t have enough money,” he said. “We need to find ways to get them more financing.”

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