Berlin Festival Sets Box Office Record
Where the Berlin International Film Festival ranks among the world's top tier fests may be a matter of opinion and debate, but in one category Berlin is the undisputed champion: ticket sales. Over the 10-day event, the Berlinale sold some 330,000 tickets to ordinary film fans, a new record and a further confirmation that Berlin remains the largest public film festival worldwide.
"It's an award for cinema," said Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick, announcing the box-office record at the festival's award ceremony Saturday night. "It shows you don't have to watch [a cinematic film like] Ben Hur on the iPad; you can also go to the movies."
The Berlinale has been playing to sold-out houses for years now but the fest has found ways of boosting audience numbers by expanding the number of screens and screenings available to the public. This year, the re-opening of the opulent multiplex the Zoo Palast in western Berlin -- which featured repeat screenings as well as galas from the festival's sidebar sections -- added thousands of new admissions.
The final numbers aren't yet in. The 64th Berlinale came to a dramatic close Saturday night with a surprise Golden Bear winner: the Chinese film noir Black Coal, Thin Ice. But on Sunday, the festival will be screening highlights from all the Berlinaler sections in theaters across Berlin for the regular viewing public, so the final ticket tally will likely end up much higher.