Local hits such as Fack Ju Göhte 2 helped score a record year in Germany - even before the release of Star Wars.

Fack Ju Gohte 2

The German box office faced a record year in 2015 even before the Dec 17 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had taken more than $80.4m (€74m) by the beginning of the New Year (until Jan 3)

The first nine months of 2015 had seen German cinemas selling 90 million tickets and posting $819m (€754m), a year-on-year increase of 14.7% and 16.7% respectively over 2014, thanks to blockbusters such as Fast & Furious 7, Fifty Shades Of Grey and the local hits Honig Im Kopf and Fack Ju Göhte 2.

According to data provided by Rentrak, 2015 ended with total box-office takings of $1.22bn (€1.12 bn) and admissions topping 131 million.

Disney’s reboot of the Star Wars franchise was 2015’s number one title based on box-office receipts and immediately went into the record books as the film with the best opening weekend of all time in Germany by taking an impressive $27.2m (€25m).

However, on the admissions front, Constantin Film’s Fack Ju Göhte 2 was the year’s top title with 7.6 million tickets sold (compared to Star Wars’ 6.5 million).

Bora Dagtekin’s sequel to his 2013 hit comedy Fack Ju Göhte sold 2.12 million tickets on its first weekend in September, the best opening for a German film ever (in comparison, the latest Bond extravaganza Spectre was seen by 1.7 million cinema-goers in the first four days), and became the second most successful German film of all time after only six weeks on release.

Made in Germany

Last month, industry observers forecast that films ‘made in Germany’ would garner a market share of around 25% thanks to the two blockbusters Fack Ju Göhte 2 and Honig Im Kopf as well as David Wnendt’s Hitler comedy Er ist wieder da and the Warner Bros. co-produced/distributed comedies Traumfrauen and Der Nanny.

Eight of the 11 German films in the year’s Top 50 each attracted more than 1 million admissions, ranging from 7.6 million for Fack Ju Göhte 2 to the latest editions of the family entertainment franchises Ostwind 2, Fünf Freunde 4, based on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five book series, and Bibi und Tina.

Universal leads studios

With four releases – Minions, Fast & Furious 7, Fifty Shades Of Grey, and Jurassic World - in the year’s Top 10, Universal was in the pole position for 2015 with a market share of 21.8% based on box-office revenues and 21% based on admissions.

Disney followed in second place with market shares of 15.1% and 13.3% respectively from such releases as Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Inside Out alongside Star Wars, while Warner Bros. nabbed third position (14.3%/14.4%) with a mix of hits both local (Honig im Kopf, Traumfrauen) and international (The Hobbit, American Sniper).

Meanwhile, Constantin Film was 2015’s top independent distributor – at fourth place (9.6%/10.7%) with more than half of its takings of $117.8m (€108.4m) attributed to one title – Fack Ju Göhte 2.

Dip in 3D

3D has lost its popularity with German cinema-goers, according to the German Federal Film Board’s Frank Völkert, which reported a drop of almost 16% in admissions for films shown in 3D compared to 2014.

Völkert noted that Minions was seen by more than 6.8 million, but only 35% of these admissions were for 3D performances.