The Czech box office is trending toward another healthy year, but questions remain whether the upward trend will continue in 2008.

Czech admissions passed the 11m mark in October, well ahead of last year's numbers, which were at 10.4m at the end of November.

Box office sales were at $57.3m (CZK 1.05bn) at the end of October 2007, already more than year-end sales of $56.8m (CZK 1.04bn) last year, according to the Czech Union of Film Distributors.

The current figures do not include late-season releases which are faring well in other territories. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass will be released locally Dec 13, Alvin And The Chipmunks on Dec 20, and I Am Legend on Jan 10.

But some local distributors are murmuring that this year's numbers are not representative. Jan Sverak's Empties and Jiri Menzel's I Served The King Of England together have drawn more than 2m admissions at home this year. Both were released in 40 copies (compare to 44 copies for The Golden Compass).

Next year is not without strong Czech titles -- three local films will see 40 copies -- but none are likely to fare as well as Sverak and Menzel's titles this year.

Tobruk, a $4.4m WWII drama from former Barrandov Studios CEO Vaclav Marhoul, will have its premiere in September. A film with a similar them, Jan Sverak's 2001 release Dark Blue World, saw 1.1m admissions, largely on the strength of the director's name.

Also highly anticipated is Juraj Jakubisko's Bathory, an English-language production with a reputed budget of $16.6m. The release of the historical horror has been pushed back from Feb 19 to July 10. Jakubisko is known internationally but his previous film, Post Coitum, drew only 72,000 admissions.

Another question mark hovers over big international earners screening in Czech cinemas in 2008. Shrek 4 will likely top the 600,000 admissions earned by both Shrek 2 and Shrek The Third , but not by much. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is setting a similar benchmark for Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince next year.