Home vid drives big '06 for Kinowelt

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MUNICH -- German indie Kinowelt exceeded its 2005 revenue by more than 35% last year to reach €106.8 million ($145.9 million), up from €78.8 million ($107.7 million) the year before, the company said Friday.

Post-tax profits rose even more in 2006, up 37.6% to €4.9 million ($6.7 million). The top-earning unit was the home entertainment division, bringing in €56.1 million ($76.7 million) in 2006, more than half of the company's total revenue and a 6% increase from the year before.

Kinowelt sold 6.7 million DVDs last year, with one out of 10 sales credited to the company's most successful title, the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie starrer "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Other major releases included Oscar winner "March of the Penguins" and such classic European films as the Jean Reno starrer "Leon."

The Leipzig-based company also did well on the distribution side, with its World Cup documentary "Germany: A Summer Fairy Tale" selling almost four million tickets in 2006 despite a late fall release.

"Fairy Tale" accounted for more than half of all Kinowelt tickets sold last year, a total of 7.3 million, giving the company a 5.5% market share and making it No. 2 among Germany's independent distributors.
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