Teuton pix boost B.O.

2004 was 3rd best year for German B.O. in recent history

COLOGNE — Domestic productions have helped ticket sales at German box offices pick up in 2004, following a disappointing 2003.

According to preliminary figures from research institute Nielsen EDI, visitors at German theaters totaled 151 million, up 7% on the previous year. This makes 2004 the third best year for German box offices in recent history, after 2001 and 2002, EDI noted.

The share of domestic productions was at 24%, a noticeable surge from the 17% in 2003, which was a strong year thanks to surprise hit “Goodbye, Lenin.”

The two top grossers of 2004 were follow ups by the directors of Germany’s previous all-time best selling movies. These were Michael “Bully” Herbig’s sci-fi spoof “(T)Raumschiff Surprise — Periode 1” and Otto Waalkes’ Snow White parody “7 zwerge — maenner allein im wald.”

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Accompanied by considerable media promotion, Hitler drama “The Downfall” also drew 4 million viewers. It has just been selected for the audience kudos of Bavaria’s Bayerische Filmpreis awards. Other top grossers were kids animation pic “Lauras Stern” and Edgar Wallace parody “Der Wixxer.”

Detailed figures on last year’s box office performances will be issued by Federal Film Board FFA at the end of the month.