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German B.O. boom

'Titanic' pushes tix but local product suffers

BERLIN — German box office reported a strong first half year, but homegrown productions faltered in the first six months of 1998.

Some 74 million tickets were sold in Germany during the first half, an increase of 11.6% compared with the same period of 1997. Due in part to ticket price hikes, revenues rose 18.9% to 808.2 million marks ($449 million).

The German Federal Film Board (FFA) attributes the box office boom to the record-breaking success of “Titanic” at the start of the year.

New multiplexes benefited the most from increased attendance, while older theaters tended to suffer. More than 50% of German cinemas reported declining sales in the first half.

In the first six months of 1998, 131 screens opened in Germany, but 148 closed their doors, per the FFA.

German pics made a comparatively poor showing in the first half, capturing a market share of 8.8% — down significantly from 23.4% in the first half of 1997. Only two German films, “Comedian Harmonists” and “Pippi Longstocking,” drew more than 1 million moviegoers.

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