'The Break-Up Man' Tops 'The Hobbit' at German Box Office

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The comedy from actor/director Matthias Schweighofer ends the German box office reign of "The Hobbit."

BERLIN -- German cinema had a tough 2012 but the new year came in with a bang with Matthias Schweighofer's rom-com The Break-Up Man blasting past The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to take the No. 1 spot on the German box office charts this past weekend.

More than half a million admissions -- or just more than one out of every four tickets sold in Germany this weekend -- were for The Break-Up Man, which Schweighofer wrote, produced, directed and stars in. With a total box office of nearly $6.5 million for 20th Century Fox in Germany, The Break-Up Man marks the best start for a German-language film in nearly two years.

The Hobbit -- entering its fifth week in Germany -- came in a distant second with 310,000 tickets sold. Peter Jackson's fantasy epic has ruled over the German box office for the past month and is closing in on a $80 million take for the territory.

Schweighofer's latest comedy would be lucky to make a fraction of that. But the film's strong start is a welcome change for the local industry. The German box office last year passed the €1 billion ($1.3 billion) mark for the first time ever but local films performed poorly, accounting for just 13.7 percent of the total box office, down from 18.9 percent a year earlier. 

The year is getting off to a better start. Last weekend there were five German films in the top 10, including 3D children's film Ritter Rost, Margarethe von Trotta's biopic Hannah Arendt, the coming-of-age fantasy title The Vampire Sisters and Jesus Loves Me, a romantic comedy from director-star Florian David Fitz