German box office takings rose 7.4% to Euros879.1m in 2004, boosted by a string of successful German films such as (T)raumschiffSurprise - Periode 1.
Overall admissions also climbed by 7% from2003's 140.3m to 151m, according to figures from Nielsen EDI.
While US films werestill the dominant force in German cinemas, their market share was pushed downas local productions scored with audiences: local films' market share increasedfrom 2003's 17.5% to 24.5% with no less than three German films charting in theyear's Top 10.
UIP was 2004's top distributor at the German boxoffice wrestling the crown from Warner Bros which had reigned supreme at thetop for the previous two years.
UIP saw its market share go up from 2003's 19.1%to 20.3% with overall box office takings of Euros 178.6m thanks to such strongreleases such as Van Helsing, Shrek 2, Bridget Jones and the localcomedy 7 Zwerge - Maenner Allein Im Wald, while Warner Bros' shareslipped to 19.7% and takings of Euros 173.4m.
Buena Vista held onto its number three positionbut saw its market share fall from 18.9% to 15.8% and its most successfulrelease - Brothers Bear - registering at only number 11 in the year'sTop 100. The downward trend in Sony and Fox's shares continued into 2004: Sonysaw its slice of the box office cake shrink from 11.2% to 8.6%, while Fox'scontracted from 9.3% to 7.6%.
On the independent front, 2004 saw ConstantinFilm Verleih reclaim its pole position among German independent distributors:its 14.9% share was more than three times 2003's 3.8%.
Constantin ended 2004 as the fourth mostsuccessful distributor overall - ahead of Sony and Fox - and with the year'stop film, (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Episode 1, which was seen by over9.1m cinema-goers and took over Euros 51.2m.
Other success stories last year included the newoperator Falcom, which posted a 2.3% market share at number seven thanks inlarge part to comedy Der Wixxer chalking up over Euros 10.9m in takings.
Another new distributor, Timebandits, also hitthe jackpot with its first release, Fatih Akin's Golden Bear-winning Head-Onwith Euros 4.4m box office. A revamped Kinowelt also returned to theatricaldistribution with nature documentary Deep Blue which posted over Euros4.3m.
GERMAN BOX OFFICE TOP 10 2004
1 (T)raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 (Ger)Constantin, Euros 51.2m
2 Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban (US), Warner, Euros 39.4m
3 7 Zwerge - Maenner Allein Im Wald (Ger), UIP, Euros 36.9m
4 Der Untergang (Ger), Constantin, Euros 29.7m
5 Troy (US), Warner, Euros 29.6m
6 Shrek 2 (US), UIP, Euros 27.8m
7 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (US), Warner, Euros26.9m
8 The Day After Tomorrow (US), 20th Century Fox, Euros 25.7m
9 Spider-Man 2 (US), Sony, Euros 19.2m
10 Something's Gotta Give (US), Warner, Euros 18m
Source: Nielsen EDI, 1.1.04 - 2.1.05