Sci-fi spoof rockets atop German B.O.

Teuton laffer boldly goes into local history books

BERLIN — Michael Herbig’s sci-fi spoof “(T)Raumschiff Surprise — Periode 1” made German box office history on its opening weekend, boasting two million admissions and an expected take of E11 million ($13.3 million).

The German comedy, which shamelessly lampoons “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and countless other sci-fi pics, attracted 625,000 admissions on its opening day Thursday , including 164,000 viewers who caught preview screenings Wednesday night.

Exhibs have predicted “(T)Raumschiff,” which is playing on 900 screens across the country, will put a dent in Hollywood pics this summer. Herbig’s last outing, Western spoof “Manitu’s Shoe,” became the biggest money-making German film of all time.

An average of 2,200 viewers per screen saw the film between Wednesday and Sunday.

“That’s an immense figure that has never before been reached,” said Thomas Friedl, head of pic’s distrib Constantin, “It even surpasses the success of ‘Manitu’s Shoe.'”

The film has also set records in neighboring Austria, where it has attracted 300,000 viewers.

“(T)Raumschiff Surprise,” a play on words meaning either “dreamboat” or “spaceship,” follows the exploits of the zany crew of the futuristic starship Surprise, led by Captain Kork (Christian Tramitz) and Mr. Spuck (Herbig), who are forced to travel back to the Middle Ages to prevent an attack on Earth by hostile human colonists from Mars.

Pic has also landed one of the biggest McDonald’s promotional tie-ins ever for a Teutonic film, including its very own Chicken Premiere Surprise Menu and movie tie-in toys.

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