Total is best half-year result since 2002

BERLIN — Germany’s box office boomed in the first half of the year.

Ticket sales rose 13.4% in the period to Euros 422.1 million ($600.8 million) — the best first-half-year result since 2002.

The German Federal Film Board (FFA) on Wednesday said admissions in the period reached 65 million between January and June, an increase of 6.5%.

The market share of German films was below that of last year’s record performance (33.9%), but their 25.4% slice of the box-office pie was still the second best half-year showing since the FFA began keeping tabs on the performance of German films in 1992.

High-profile U.S.-German co-productions that were partially financed by German coin, such as Senator’s Oscar-winning “The Reader,” which grossed $20.4 million here, and Fox’s “Valkyrie,” which took in $12.4 million, were among the local hits. Other homegrown successes included Constantin comedy “Maennersache” ($17.5 million) and Disney’s “Lilly the Witch” ($8.7 million).

With some $48.5 million, Sony’s “Angles & Demons” was the biggest moneymaker in the first six months of the year, followed by Concorde’s “Twilight” with $23.7 million and Warner Bros.’ “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” ($21.9 million).

“The consistently positive half-year results reflect the successful support strategy of the FFA and the DFFF (German Federal Film Fund) and allow two important conclusions to be drawn,” said FFA topper Peter Dinges. “One, the renewed strength of U.S. productions along with a stable, high-level German market share, and the other, that cinema has remained one of the few growth industries in this time of financial crisis.”

The positive trend has continued through the summer with “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” which has become the year’s biggest earner to date with $76.1 million, and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” with $60.2 million.

The second half of the year is certain to get stratospheric boosts from the likes of Sony’s “District 9,” Constantin’s upcoming historical drama “Pope Joan” and tyke adventure “Vicky the Viking,” as well as Disney’s “Up,” Fox’s “Avatar” and Warner’s “Zweiohrkueken,” the sequel to the 2007 mega-hit romantic comedy “Keinohrhasen” (Rabbit Without Ears).

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