German Box Office Drops 8 Percent in First Half

James Bridges/Twentieth Century Fix
The World Cup has hurt German box-office grosses, but not for "The Fault in Our Stars."

Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" has been this year's top release in Germany as gross receipts in the first six months of 2014 slip to $626 million.

Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street cleaned up at the German box office this year ($30.4 million in local release), but for the rest of the market, 2014 has been a bear.

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Box-office figures released by Rentrak show gross revenue at German theaters dropped 8 percent in the first half of 2014 to just $626 million (€458.6 million). The figures, which run from January 3 to June 30, include the first weeks of the soccer World Cup, which kicked off June 12. Traditionally the tournament has a major negative impact on German theatrical receipts as soccer fans skip the movies to catch the Cup games on TV.

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Rentrak's figures do not include preview receipts, so the final take won't be as bad as it first appears, but it's clear that the German market has been soft this year. Admissions also took a hit, falling more than 5 million to 51.8 million sold, a 9 percent drop.

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A lack of breakout hits or high-profile local titles, as well as the unseasonably warm weather this spring, is likely as much to blame for the first-half drop as the World Cup. Several studio titles, including Universal's Neighbors ($17 million local gross), Fox's animated Rio 2 ($16.5 million), Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($15.7 million) and Disney's Maleficent (around $15 million and counting) did decent business, but Wolf of Wall Street has been this year's sole blockbuster to date.

Fox, however, proved soccer didn't have to be an obstacle to theatrical success with Josh Boone's The Fault in Our Stars, which bowed on the first weekend of the World Cup and has earned a respectable $5.8 million in the territory so far.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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