German Box Office 2017: Revenues Rebound to $1.2 Billion

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Still 38 - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Preliminary figures show a box-office bounce, thanks to 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' and local hit 'Suck Me Shakespeare 3.'

After a tepid 2016, Germany's box office surged back to life last year.

Preliminary figures from analytics group ComScore point to a 5.3 percent jump in cinema ticket revenue, to $1.2 billion, for 2017.

The ComScore figures, which measure revenue based on screening weeks, do not exactly correspond to the calendar year, so it is impossible to make exact comparisons with 2016. But the trend seems clear: Preliminary figures from Jan. 5, 2017, through Jan. 3, 2018, show box-office revenue up around $60 million. Final figures, issued by the German Federal Film Board in February, typically give a slight boost to the ComScore estimates.

Hollywood tentpoles were the main force behind the rise, led by Disney's Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast as well as Universal's tentpole trio of sequels, Despicable Me 3, Fifty Shades Darker and The Fate of the Furious. But local franchise Suck Me Shakespeare more than held its own. The third and final entry in Bora Dagtekin's school-days comedy grossed $62 million in its home market, putting it at No. 2 overall behind the $68 million that The Last Jedi took in during the calendar year in Germany. 

Despite the revenue jump, admissions, at 113.2 million tickets sold, actually fell year-on-year in Germany, though the drop, at just 2.5 percent below 2016, was less dramatic than in previous years and could be corrected by the FFA's official figures.

Overall, Germany titles accounted for 26.3 percent of total admissions and 25.6 percent of the overall box office. But it was a case of winner take all: Suck Me Shakespeare 3 accounted for more than a quarter of the total box office of all German films combined last year.

Revenue for Hollywood titles dipped slightly last year, bringing in $868.7 million, a 3.4 percent drop on 2016. Total admissions for U.S. films in the territory also fell, down 5.7 percent year-on-year, according to ComScore.

Disney was the clear market leader, with 19.4 percent of German box office overall and 16.6 percent of total admissions — a feat made even more impressive given the studio had just eight new releases in the territory last year. Universal was second with 15.7 percent of total box office and Warner Bros., thanks to the horror hit It, was third with a 13 percent share. Suck Me Shakespeare producer/distributor Constantin was the top local performer, accounting for just over 9 percent of the year's take.