Cinema admissions in Germany reached a new record last year, climbing from 148.9m to 149m, according to statistics from Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA).
However, at the same time, box office revenues fell by 1.2% from $807m (DM1.6bn) to $797m (DM1.58bn) because of a drop in the average ticket price to $5.35 (DM10.61).
The FFA argued that the decrease in revenues was partly due to increasingly cut-throat competition between cinemas and the emerging 'one-dollar screens'. In addition, 1999 did not have a blockbuster like Titanic which prompted exhibitors to slap a supplement on regular admission prices due to the film's longer-than-average running time.
The FFA's survey also showed that the number of cinema screens increased by 216 to 4,651 during 1999 and that multiplexes' share of box office revenues grew by 5% to 38.5%. However, only the most recent complexes registered increases in admissions, while multiplexes launched before 1997 posted up to 14.8% fewer admissions last year.
After a disappointing year in 1998, German product's share of the market surged ahead in 1999 - from 9.5% to 14% - with six million more cinema-goers lining up to see local films such as Annaluise & Anton, Aimee & Jaguar, Sonnenallee, Werner - Volles Rooaaa and the Franco-German-Italian co-production Asterix & Obelix. Five German films passed the one million admissions hurdle and, for the first time in ten years, 24 German films were seen by more than 100,000 spectators.