BERLIN — Helmer Soenke Wortmann’s documentary about the German national soccer team, “Deutschland: Ein Sommermaerchen” (Germany: A Summer’s Fairytale), got off to a record-breaking start on Thursday (Oct. 5).
Wortmann, armed wth a small hand-held camera, captured the behind-the-scenes drama at the World Cup in July as the Germany team and its coach Juergen Klinsmann made a unexpected run to third place.
Distrib Kinowelt said about 170,000 viewers saw the pic on Thursday. Another 36,225 had seen the film the night it premiered, Tuesday, and 53,355 crowded into theaters for special midnight screenings late on Wednesday for a total of 270,000 through the end of Thursday.
Kinowelt expects the weekend total to hit 1 million, making it the most successful start ever for any of the distrib’s films.
Pic got unprecedented media coverage in the week before its release and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has a cameo role, joined the team for a red carpet premiere in Berlin that got live national TV coverage on several networks.
Kinowelt said there was an average 286 viewers per print for the pic, which opened on 600 screens in 575 locations.
The top venue was a Cinemaxx theater in the western university town of Goettingen, where 2,668 saw the film on Thursday. Theaters in Cologne and Berlin were just behind with 2,239 and 1,969.
“It was sold out in a lot of locations,” said Martin Wieandt, spokesman for Kinowelt. “A lot of cinemas told us people were coming at midday for evening performances that were then sold out. The cinemas tell us there were standing ovations at the end of the film in Hamburg, Heilbronn and a lot of other places.”
Pic includes illuminating fly-on-the-wall scenes from lockerrooms and team buses. Wortmann filmed most of the scenes himself after spending the past two years following the team and got so close to the players that he even wore the German strip and sang the national anthem with the players.
Wortmann, a former professional soccer player himself who scored at the B.O. with the 2003 drama “Miracle of Berne,” plans to donate the profits to charity.