'Baader Meinhof' fails to ignite boxoffice

RAF drama takes in $5.3 mil during opening frame

MUNICH -- The media blitz leading up to the German debut of terrorist drama "Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" wasn't enough to deliver a boxoffice blast.

Uli Edel's look at the gang of left-wing radicals, called the Red Army Faction, or RAF -- that shook the German republic in the 1970s -- sold 400,000 tickets for a solid $5.3 million in its opening frame, enough for second place in Germany behind Disney's "WALL-E."

But that respectable bow pales against the openings for the last two films from "Komplex" uber-producer Bernd Eichinger: "Perfume -- The Story of a Murderer" (2006) opened to more than 1 million admissions and "Downfall" (2004), the story of Hitler's final days, sold 480,000 tickets in its opening weekend.

"Komplex" has divided German critics. While some have praised it for "shattering the myth" surrounding the RAF, others have damned the film as "political pornography."

The resultant controversy is reminiscent of "Downfall," which received a critical drubbing in Germany but went on to international boxoffice success and an Oscar nomination. The coming weeks will determine whether "Komplex" -- Germany's entry for the 2009 foreign-language Oscar -- can duplicate that feat.