Mirroring the general internationaltrend, Austrian exhibitors have reported year-on-year falls in box-officerevenues and admissions for the first half of 2005, but are bullish aboutprospects for the next six months.

According to figures collated by theAustrian exhibitors' association FLA, 7.35m tickets were sold in the first sixmonths - down 18.3% on 2004's 9m - while box-office takings were down by 16.3%on the result for the same period last year. The cinemas fared particularlybadly in the month of June which saw admissions slip a staggering 38% comparedto the same month in 2004.

FLA official Siegfried Schuesslersuggested that the situation in 2005 should be set against the fact that Austria'scinemas had their best results for 20 years in 2004: "I think this year wewill again reach figures like those of 2001 or 2003. The second half of theyear in the cinema is usually always stronger, perhaps because the US majorslaunch the bigger films in the autumn," he said.

Christian Langhammer, managingdirector of the Constantin Group of cinemas in Austria, suggested that theproduct hadn't been great up until now: "War Of The Worlds or StarWars didn't have the expected success. But it is not only the Americanproductions - the German cinema and the domestic productions also have to work.We haven't had a Bully this year."

He was confident that the downwardtrend in Austrian cinemas could bereversed in the second half of 2005: "When a film like Madagascaror Mr & Mrs Smith comes along, the cinemas are packed solid again. Iam very positive about the rest of the year. There are some big films cominglike Narnia, Peter Jackson's King Kong or the new Harry Potter."