In data collected from Jan 2 to Dec 31 2006, box-office revenues amounted to $1.02bn (Euros 789.3m), compared to $936.6m (Euros 720.1m) in 2005, while the total admissions climbed from 121.3m to 130.9m in the past 12 months.
After increasing its market share in the previous two years from 7.6% (2004) to 11.8% (2005), Twentieth Century Fox saw its share of the box office swell to 17.3% in 2006 to overtake 2004 and 2005's top distributor UIP. Fox released the territory's top grossing film - Ice Age 2, which took $63.22m (Euros 48.6m) and sold over 8.7m tickets, and had another four releases in the year's Top 20: The Devil Wears Prada, Walk The Line, Borat and X-Men 3.
Meanwhile, UIP's share slipped from last year's pole position of 23% to 16.4%, led by the locally produced 7 Zwerge - Der Wald Ist Nicht Genug with $25.3m (Euros 19.5m), but Buena Vista was able to hold onto its third placing with a slight increase in market share from 14.1% to 15.3%. Not surprisingly, Buena Vista's top release was Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with takings of $62m (Euros 47.8m) - only around $1m (Euros 800,000) below the year's top title Ice Age 2 - and the US major also had another five titles - Cars, The Lives Of Others, The Wild Soccer Bunch 3, Chicken Little, and Scary Movie 4 - in the Top 20.
Warner's slice of the box-office pie shrank by over 50% from 17.7% to 7.5% while Sony Pictures rebounded to fourth position in the Top 10 distributors with a 13.2% share (2005: 8%) thanks in large part to Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code, the year's third most successful release with $50.7m (Euros 39m) - and the latest Bond project, Casino Royale, which had already clocked up $42.5m (Euros 32.7m) by the end of the year.
Constantin retained its market leader position among the German independent distributors with a 9.9% market share - up from 2005's disappointing 6.4%. The Munich-based producer-distributor was behind the release of the year's top local film, Tom Tykwer's Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer which was released in German cinemas in September and ended the year at No. 4 in the Top 10 with takings of $50m (Euros 38.4m).
Constantin's only other Top 20 title was Hui Buh - Das Schlossgespenst (at No. 13 with $13.4m/Euros 10.3m) which might have been expected to perform better with the casting of comedian Michael 'Bully' Herbig as the voice for the computer-animated castle ghost Hui Buh. It remains to be seen whether Herbig's next film for Constantin, the 3D animation Lissi Und Der Wilde Kaiser will bring the distributor back into a double-digit market share.
(In 2004, Herbig's live action sci-fi sendup Dreamship Surprise - Period One had been seen by more than 9.1m German cinema-goers and taken more than $66.4/Euros 51.2m to become the year's overall No. 1, sending Constantin's market share above 14%.)
As previously forecast, 2006 was a good year for the local production scene with the domestic market share increasing from 2005's 17% to 23% over the past 12 months. Constantin, as always, featured heavily in the year's Top 10 German films with four releases, including the top title Perfume, while Kinowelt clinched second place with Soenke Wortmann's football documentary Deutschland. Ein Sommermaerchen which generated $31m (Euros 23.8m) box office and brought more than 3.9m cinema-goers into the cinemas to relive the heady days of June and July's World Cup competition. In addition, the small Munich-based distributor Movienet garnered a 1% market share with its release of Marcus H. Rosenmueller's feature debut Grave Decisions (Wer Frueher Stirbt, Ist Laenger Tot) which has been seen by more than 1.2m cinema-goers and posted over $9.8m (Euros 7.5m) takings.