German Box Office Recovers in First Half of 2017

Fifty Shades Darker_Still_2 - Publicity - H 2017
Doane Gregory/Universal Studios

The live-action 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Fifty Shades Darker' and 'Fate of the Furious' boost revenue while video sales dip.

German box office revenue ticked up a healthy 7.7 percent to $607 million (€518.7 million) in the first half of 2017, according to official figures released Wednesday.

A front-loaded release schedule that included sequels to hit franchises Fifty Shades of Grey and Fast & Furious, along with Disney's live-action reboot of Beauty and the Beast, helped German cinemas to their second-highest-ever result for the period, beaten only by the €544.6 million earned in the first half of 2015, when a similar combination — the first Fifty Shades film, Furious 7 and Disney's live-action Cinderella — gave the local box office an early-year boost.

German cinemas sold a total of 60.2 million tickets over the six-month period, just under 5 percent more than a year earlier.

Local-language films did not fare as well as Hollywood imports. German films' share of the market, based on admissions, fell from 26.7 percent in the first half of 2016, to just 18 percent so far this year. The local industry is hoping for a return to form in the second half of the year, traditionally the strongest period for the German box office, with several major releases planned, most prominently Fack Ju Gohte 3, the final entry in a hugely successful comedy franchise.

The news was less sunny in the German video market. Industry figures released Wednesday showed a 9 percent drop in total home entertainment revenue, to $694 million (€593 million) for the first six months of the year. The figures, published by the German Association of Audiovisual Media, do not include revenue from online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The overall picture, however, was clear. Physical sales of DVD and Blu-ray discs fell by 15 and 10 percent, respectively, a drop that could not be compensated for by the increase in digital rentals (up 21 percent) and digital sales (up 12 percent). Digital rental and sales accounted for 19 percent of total revenue, up from 15 percent in the first half of 2016, with physical sales and rentals accounting for 81 percent of the German video market.