German box office rises 33%

Local films boost exhibition sector

BERLIN — Box office in Germany rose 33% in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same period last year. Rise was fuelled by the success of homegrown fare.

Total B.O. gross stood at E238.2 million ($378.3 million). Admissions rose 30% to 38.7 million, according to Nielsen EDI.

Among local blockbusters were Universum/Disney’s “Earth,” which has grossed $30 million so far, Constantin Film’s “The Wave,” which has taken $14.7 million, and Warner Bros.’ “Rabbit Without Ears” (Keinohrhasen), which has remained in the top 10 for the past 16 weeks and has a gross totalling $60.3 million.

German pics accounted for $92 million, a rise of 24.3%, when not including U.K.-German co-production “Earth.” Taking “Earth” into account, the B.O. for local pics climbs to $121 million, a rise of 63%, and gives local pics a 30% share of the market.

Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield’s nature doc has become the most successful local pic of 2008 (“Rabbit” preemed in December).

The positive trend looks set to continue throughout the rest of the year with the arrival high-profile local pics such as Niki Muellerschoen’s “The Red Baron,” which opens Thursday, Christian Goerlitz’s “Fleisch ist mein Gemuese,” which hits theaters next week, and Uli Edel’s terrorist drama “The Baader-Meinhof Complex” and Marco Kreuzpainter’s fantasy epic “Krabat,” both of which hit screens in the fall.

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