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COLOGNE, Germany – Hobbits, vampires, James Bond and an unexpected French blockbuster helped Germany to its best-ever box office result last year, with ticket revenues topping $1.3 billion in 2012, up nearly 8 percent over the previous year.
Sony Pictures’ Skyfall, which has earned $83 million in Germany so far; Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey ($60 million and counting for Warner Bros. Germany) and the French comedy The Intouchables, which grossed $82 million for local indie Senator, countered any damage done by the Europe Soccer Championships and the London Olympics this summer.
Revenue and attendance figures shot up, affirming Germany’s continued position as a rock-solid territory in what has become a shaky European neighborhood.
Figures from Rentrak, which do not include preview revenues, put German box office take at $1.29 billion (€985 million) for the period from Dec. 29, 2011 to Dec. 30, 2012. Preview figures, and box office take from non-traditional screenings, such as live music and sports events, should put German revenue over the €1 billion ($1.31 billion) benchmark for the first time ever. Just as encouraging were attendance figures, which were up 5 percent to 127 million tickets sold.
Other strong performers included The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 ($37.5 million for Concorde) and the 3-D animated hits Ice Age: Continental Drift ($68 million for Fox) and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted ($40 million for Paramount).
The German film board will put out its official box office figures in February, ahead of the Berlin Film Festival. Typically, the official numbers, which include all theater ticket revenues, are around $50 million – $60 million above Retrak’s figures.
The only downside to a stellar 2012 was the performance of local titles. Constantin Film’s culture-clash comedy Turkish For Beginners earned an impressive $21.5 million (€16.4 million) but it was the only German-language film to sell more than 1 million tickets last year. Even Guardians, the hotly-anticipated action film from local superstar Til Schweiger missed the mark, selling 708,000 tickets for a $7.35 million (€5.6 million) take.
According to Rentrak figures, revenue for German films plunged 20.8 percent, with local titles accounting for just 13.7 percent of total box office, down from 18.9 percent a year earlier.
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