German art houses see teen boom

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MUNICH -- Germany's art houses recorded double-digit increases in tickets sold and revenue in 2006 thanks to such popular titles as Oscar winner "The Lives of Others" and the World Cup soccer docu "Germany. A Summer Fairytale" as well as more offerings for young audiences.

Sales surged 18% last year, well over the national growth rate of 7.4%, and revenue jumped 24% from 2005, according to reports released by the German Federal Film Board and market research organization GfK.

The reports also confirmed a substantial increase in screens devoted to art house films. The FFA counted a total of 660 art house screens in Germany, an increase of 9.2% from 2005. It also said that about 78% of all art house theaters had more than one screen by the end of 2006.

Perhaps the best long-term news was the rejuvenation of the art house audience in 2006. Ticket buyers ages 10-19 made up 23.2% of the genre's audience last year, helping to reduce the average age of art house attendees from 37 to 34. This brought the average closer to the national average of 33.