The news came as this year's Munich Film Festival kicked off with Zola Maseko's Drumat the weekend.
Accordingto figures compiled by Nielsen EDI, there was a year-on-year fall of 28% inticket sales between April 4 and June 19 - from 2004's $218.6m (Euros 180.7m) to $156.4m (Euros129.3m).
Overall, the year so far has seen revenues slip by 18% from $480m (Euros396.4m) 12 months ago to $395m (Euros 326.4m) for a total of 55m admissions .
Thedownward trend could not be stopped by blockbuster Star Wars : Episode 3 -which is the year's most successful release so far with $42m (Euros 34.7m) - and wasfuelled by the disappointing performance of Warner Bros' Batman Begins whoseopening weekend only generated $1.7m (Euros 1.4m).
Industry insiders are hoping thatUIP's War Of The Worlds (which opens on June 29) will give some respite for thesecond quarter's final results, although the bulk of that release's takingswill be posted in the third quarter.
NielsenEDI's figures from January 3 to June 19 show that 20th Century Fox is leadingthe field of distributors with a market share of 20.4.% thanks to suchsuccessful releases as Star Wars: Episode 3, Kingdom Of Heaven and Robots,followed by UIP (18.7%), Buena Vista (14%), Warner Bros. (12.9%), and SonyPictures (12%).
ConstantinFilm Verleih is the leading German independent for the first half of 2005 withmarket share of 5.6%, ahead of X Verleih (3.2%), Universum (2.5%) and Kinowelt(2 %).
1 StarWars: Episode III, Fox, Euros 34.7m
2 Hitch-The Date Doctor , Sony Pictures, Euros 25.5m
3 Meet TheFockers , UIP, Euros 18.8m
4 KingdomOf Heaven , Fox Euros 12.5m
5 Barefoot , BVI, Euros 8.3m
6 Robots, Fox, Euros 8m
7 BladeTrinity , Warner, Euros 7.7m
8 TheInterpreter , UIP, Euros 7.4m
9 Constantine , Warner, Euros 7.2m
10 TheWild Soccer Bunch 2 , BVI, Euros 7m
Source:Nielsen EDI, 3.1.-19.6.2005