Box office takings in Germany last year were the second best since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, according to figures released by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) yesterday.

The FFA's statistics showed that box office turnover was down 2.8% year-on-year from 2001's Euros 987.2m to Euros 960.1 m while admissions slipped 7.8% from 177.9m to 163.9m.

'Among the reasons for the year-on-year differences was that Manitou's Shoe alone attracted 9m admissions; there was a depressed economic climate especially in the second half of the year, and many cinemas were affected by the floods in the East', FFA board member Rolf Baehr explained.

With the absence of a blockbuster like2001's Manitou's Shoe last year, the German market share fell from 2001's 18.4% to 11.9% and the number of tickets sold for German films contracted from 30.9m to 19m.

However, Baehr is confident that this year should see a good chance for the market share to pick up again with the release of such films as Anatomie 2, Berlinale competitiion film Good Bye, Lenin!, the new Werner animation feature, Das Wunder Von Bern and the animation feature Till Eulenspiegel.

According to the FFA's figures, 2002 saw the fewest number of cinema screen closures for the last ten years - 113 , while 189 new screens were added last year. Overall, the number of cinema screens in Germany increased by 76 from 4,792 in 2001 to 4,868 in 2002.