Arthouseand specialist film is proving the bright spot in a declining Dutch market.

Second-quarterfigures for the box office in the Netherlands were down 17.5% year-on-year. Theyhad already slipped by 15% in Q1.

But it's a mixed picture with Hollywood blockbusters underperforming comparedto last year, while independent titles are finding new audiences.

"Theinterest in mainstream features has declined dramatically. However, thepopularity of art house titles has been growing explosively," says PimHermeling, managing director of A-Film Distribution, the Netherlands' biggestindependent distributor. "Downfall ($2.5m[Euro 2.1m]) has been one of the best performing films recently."

Othernotable performances have come from Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind ($0.96m), Million Dollar Baby($1.7m) and Dutch foreign-language Oscar submission Simon ($1.6m).

Hermelingsuggests many teenage moviegoers are losing their interest in theatricalscreenings while adults over 25 "are looking for another sort of film than theregular Hollywood blcokbuster."

PatheCinemas, which operates more than 100 screens in the Netherlands, has adjustedits policy towards these titles positively. "Our frequent visitors have beencoming to our theatres for the last 10 years," says managing director LaugeNielsen.

"They are getting older and therefore their taste infilms is changing. We have to offer them an alternative, which means less filmsthat are connected to Hollywood. If we do not act on that signal we will losethem to the art-house cinemas."