U.S. share of Dutch market on rise

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AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands -- Hollywood movies continue to dominate the Dutch exhibition market, according to 2006 boxoffice results announced Tuesday.

The market share of U.S. productions rose to 80% in 2006 from 71% the year before despite the number of U.S. releases dropping slightly to 138 from 2005's 141.

The biggest commercial hit of the year was "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" with €10.6 million ($13.8 million) and 1.5 million admissions, followed by "The Da Vinci Code" at €8.1 million ($10.5 million) and 1.1 million admissions.

The bronze medal went to Paul Verhoeven's World War II drama "Blackbook," with a boxoffice of €6.9 million ($9 million) and 979,000 paying customers. It has been decades since a largely Dutch production ranked so high in the top 10.

The market share for local-language pics dropped 4%, to 10.9%, in 2006. Only four local titles -- "Blackbook" and family-oriented titles "Crusade in Jeans," "Afblijven!" and "Zoop in India" -- had any impact, with many other local titles, such as the biopic "Wild Romance," based on the life of Dutch pop icon Herman Brood, failing to find an audience.

All in all, the Dutch boxoffice recovered from the disaster of 2005. Attendance rose 9% to 22.5 million admissions, while the overall gross rose by 14% to €154 million ($200 million) from 2005's €135 million.

"We are very relieved," said Wilco Wolfers, chairman of industry body NFC. "The start of 2006 did not look promising with the World Cup in Germany approaching. Due to the fact that Holland was eliminated in an early stage and a very wet month of August, there was not much damage at the boxoffice."
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