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Last year’s local crop tough act to follow

Germany

Germany’s box office looks likely to remain robust in view of this year’s major tentpole pics, but local films may find it hard to match the success of homegrown fare released in 2006.

Producer-distrib Constantin Film led domestic players with its boffo performer “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” which garnered an eye-opening $53 million locally.

Pic, along with other local hits like World Cup doc “Deutschland: Ein Sommermaerchen” and “The Lives of Others” helped increase the market share of domestic films by 26%.

Hollywood blockbusters about prehistoric mammals, supernatural pirates and the latest search for the Holy Grail further boosted the overall box office by 9.3%.

According to Constantin Film topper Fred Kogel, 2007 will prove a similarly strong year in view of upcoming franchise titles such as “Spider-Man 3,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Shrek the Third,” with an increase of 5% to 10% “quite possible.”

Offering an alternative to this year’s slate of Hollywood popcorn are numerous high-profile domestic and international titles from local distribs.

Kinowelt is releasing “Free Rainer,” Hans Weingartner’s follow-up to 2004’s “The Edukators,” about a jaded TV exec who declares war on trash TV.

Tobis, which last year enjoyed huge success with “Brokeback Mountain” and “Volver,” could see similar returns from the likes of Mike Newell’s “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution” and David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises.”

Looking toward the second half of the year, Tobis marketing chief Magnus Vortmeyer says that Gabriel Garcia Marquez adapation “Love in the Time of Cholera” is “one of our biggest and most significant new films.”

Forthcoming from Constantin are “Pornorama,” by helmer Marc Rothemund (“Sophie Scholl”), a laffer about the educational sex film industry in 1960s Germany, and “Beste Zeiten,” a comedy from Marcus Rosenmueller (“Grave Decisions”).

BOX OFFICE OVERVIEW

Top Film 2006
“Ice Age: The Meltdown”: $66.5 million
Total B.O.: $1.1 billion
Total number of releases: 487

Recent Pickups
“The Incredible Hulk” (Concorde Filmverleih)
“Eye in the Sky” (Constantin Film)
“Jumper” (Kinowelt)
“The Mist” (Senator Film)
“Love in the Time of Cholera” (Tobis)

A correction was made to this article on April 10, 2007.

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