German boxoffice vs. World Cup equals draw

Ticket sales fell 11.4%, boxoffice rose 1.1%

COLOGNE, Germany -- The battle for eyeballs between the soccer World Cup and cinema blockbusters ended in a draw in Germany. German ticket sales fell 11.4% in the first half to just 56.2 million, in large part due to the soccer on the small screen, according to figures released Thursday by Rentrak EDI. But total boxoffice in the territory actually increased to $551 million (€418 million), a 1.1% uptick, thanks to ticket surcharges for 3-D screenings.

James Cameron's "Avatar" led the 3-D charge, earning around $95 million of its total $145 million German take in the first half of 2010; followed by Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," which earned $37 million in the territory.

Most German distributors cleared the field during the World Cup. There were no major releases in the first weeks of the tournament, when up to three matches were being played daily and movie audiences dropped accordingly. Some distributors, however, managed to successfully counter-program. None did it better than Warner Bros., whose "Sex & The City 2" earned nearly half of its $25 million German b.o. take after the World Cup kick off.

With the soccer gone, Germany ticket sales are bouncing back. "Eclipse," the latest in the "Twilight" franchise, has already earned close to $30 million for local distributor Concorde. Paramount has taken in some $22 million with "Shrek Forever After" and Chris Nolan's "Inception" has tallied up around $7.5 million for Warner Bros. Germany in its first week in release.