World Cup Gives German Box Office a Kicking

Transformers Optimus Prime Sword - H 2014

Transformers Optimus Prime Sword - H 2014

Hollywood and local revenue in Germany hits 22-year low in the first half

The World Cup gave Hollywood releases a major kicking in Germany, the eventual winners of the world's biggest sporting event.

The sporty competition drove box office revenues down to their lowest in 22 years here, with ticket receipts slipping 9.2 percent to $593 million (€450.6 million).

Excitement surrounding the global sporting event is always strong in Germany, but this year's tournament drew record ratings, with games averaging up to 80 percent market share and few viewers left over to go to the movies.

No single US title cleared the $50 million mark in the territory. Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction (barely) earned the blockbuster moniker, bringing in just under $38 million in Germany.

Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, which bowed in Germany in February, was the only other film to crack the $30 million mark, closing out at around $30.3 million. Anticipating the World Cup onslaught, many studios shifted their schedules to avoid the games and open movies later in soccer-crazed Germany. One exception was DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon 2, which faced the World Cup head on, opening in the midst of the tournament on July 24. The counter-programming trick appeared to work, as the sequel outgrossed the first How to Train Your Dragon in Germany, earning just under $22 million compared to $15.5 million for the original.

In addition to the soccer, an unseasonably warm and sunny Spring hit Hollywood's bottom line, as Germans went to their beer garden instead of the local multiplex.

But with the World Cup long gone and the weather getting cold again, the studios' luck might be turning. Several upcoming releases - including Disney and Marvel Studios' offbeat superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - have the potential to be break-out hits.

Twitter: @sroxborough