Teuton productions pumped B.O. in ’04

German market share jumped 6.3% in 2004

BERLIN — A record year for domestic productions and a dramatic boost at the local box office provided ample reason for the German industry to celebrate on the eve of the Berlin Film Festival, which begins today.

The German Federal Film Board (FFA) on Wednesday reported that Teutonic films’ market share increased 6.3% to 23.8% in 2004 thanks to the huge success of Adolf Hitler drama “Downfall” and comedies “Spaceship Surprise” and “Seven Dwarfs.”

But while local B.O. takings rose 5.1% to e893 million ($1.14 billion), that was still below 2001 and 2002.

Yet the huge success of local hits and a string of Hollywood blockbusters, including “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Shrek 2” and “Spider-Man 2,” still made 2004 one of the most successful years at the German box office in the past decade, said FFA topper Peter Dinges.

Dinges added that a new generation of filmmakers had discovered the formula needed to attract local auds and offer a real alternative to U.S. product: Of the total 430 films released in Germany last year, 121 were Teutonic productions compared with 179 U.S. films.

Dinges said the outlook for 2005 looked positive, adding that upcoming titles like “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” “War of the Worlds,” “Robots” and “Fantastic Four” all guarantee boffo biz.

Germany’s homevid market also clocked record figures: More than 100 million DVD and VHS units were sold last year, boosting industry sales by 4% to $1.09 billion.

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