First-half box-office admissions in the Czech Republic grew 13% year-on-year, with local cinemas earning total revenues of nearly $31.3m (CZK 637m).

If the trend continues in the second half, 2007 will outpace last year's 11.5m admissions, continuing a recovery from 2005's 9.5m admissions.

The Czech Republic, which has a population of 10.2m, saw just over 6.6m admissions between Jan 1 and June 30, the best first-half performance in recent years, according to the Czech Union of Film Distributors.

So far 2007 has seen two record-breaking films at Czech box offices. Jan Sverak's Empties has emerged as the highest-grossing Czech film ever, earning $5.5m on 1.1m admissions since its March 8 premiere. Sverak's comedy is followed by Jiri Menzel's I Served The King Of England, which opened Dec 19, and earned $3.9 on 820,624 admissions.

Czech romantic comedy The Bitch's Diary was the fifth-highest grossing film, earning $1.2m on 236,743 admissions.

Otherwise the top films follow established international trends, with the biggest earners including Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (350,244 admissions), Shrek The Third (291,645), Night In The Museum (188,885), Spider-Man 3 (182,183), Mr. Bean's Holiday (179,111) and 300 (173,391). Goya's Ghosts also performed relatively well, drawing 172,090 Czechs interested in seeing the latest film from native son Milos Forman.

The first-half results do not include films that are already faring well internationally such as Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, which opened here July 19, The Simpson's Movie (July 26) and Transformers (Aug 18).

Czech films likely to perform well in the second half of 2007 include Jan Hrebejk's Teddy Bear, Tomas Vorel's teen drama Gympl, and Juraj Jakubisko's historical thriller Bathory.