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COLOGNE — Django Unchained and a few local comedies have kept the German box afloat in the first quarter, with box office returns holding steady for the first three months of this year, even as new studio entries failed to dazzle.
Quentin Tarantino‘s bloody tribute to the Spaghetti Western has been a blockbuster success here, earning more than $50 million at the German box office. That’s in no small part thanks to the draw of Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, an A-lister in Germany thanks to his many years as a star on German TV.
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Two German-language comedies from actor/directors — Til Schweiger‘s Kokowaah 2 and Schlussmacher from Matthias Schweighofer — each earned north of $23 million in the first quarter, outperforming any of the new Hollywood entries. The strongest new Studio titles in Germany: Fox’s actioner A Good Day to Die Hard and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters from Paramount, both came in at around $15 million at the local box office.
But Tarantino and the home-grown comedies, along with the strong performance of hold-over studio titles including The Hobbit and Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi, which opened late last year, meant Germany’s box office continued to chug along nicely.
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According to figures from Rentrack, German box office revenue from Jan. 3 to March 24 was $300 million, with just under 30 million tickets sold, around even with last year’s first quarter take. Germany had a record year at the box office in 2012, topping the €1 billion ($1.3 billion) revenue figure for the first time ever. The strong start to 2013 bodes well for industry hopes to match – or even beat – that figure this year.
While studio titles were weak in the first quarter, both Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful and Fox’s animated The Croods have had solid starts here, boding well for second quarter performance.
Distributors are also hoping for a strong summer without last year’s competition from the European Soccer Championships and the London Olympics, which pulled audiences away from theaters.
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