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German Box Office Plunges 16% in 2018

Germany’s box-office earnings plummeted 16% to €839 million ($965 million) in 2018, in tandem with an alarming 15.5% drop in theater admissions to 95.8 million, according to figures provided Wednesday by Comscore.

The steep fall in what was once the world’s eighth-biggest movie-going territory comes after an uptick of 5.9% at the German in 2017. But that modest rise followed a 17.1% drop in 2016, making the current picture all the more worrisome for distributors and exhibitors.

On the bright side for the local industry, German movies performed relatively strongly, even though none cracked the top 10. They accounted for 22.9% of the market in 2018, equaling their share in 2017. But total 2018 grosses for German movies on home turf were down 17% to €166 million ($191 million).

The leading domestic title in Germany last year was children’s pic “Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver,” directed by Dennis Gansel, which pulled in more than €11.8 million ($13.6 million) via Warner Bros. That was followed by Studiocanal’s “The Little Witch,” from director Michael Schaerer, which garnered €9.5 million ($10.9 million).

A dozen German films came in well over over the $6 million mark, including Constantin’s “This Crazy Heart,” which had been one of 2017’s biggest hits and continued its success into last year, taking in about half of its total $19.5 million gross. Constantin also scored with “Sauerkrautkoma,” the fifth installment in its popular country-cop film franchise, which made €7.9 million ($9 million) last year.

Hollywood movies, led by Disney’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” earned €631 million ($727 million) in 2018, which was 13.9% down on the previous year, according to Comscore. This indicates that, just as in France and in Italy, there were fewer Hollywood blockbusters that drew in German audiences.

Nonetheless, the U.S. share of the box office actually rose to a whopping 75.3% in 2018, compared to 73.4% in 2017, amid an overall pullback by Germans from movie-going that may have been due in part to record high temperatures in summer and the soccer World Cup, even though the national team made an early exit from the tournament.

Avengers: Infinity War” was the top-grossing film last year, pulling in €37.7 ($43.4 million), followed by Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which made €35.2 million ($40.5 million), and Universal’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which came in third at €25.8 million ($29.7 million).

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