Germany's distributors and exhibitors have cause forcelebration as 1 million more cinema tickets were sold in the first half of2004 compared to the same period last year, according to official figuresunveiled by the Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA).

The FFA reported that 72.3m tickets were sold in the periodto June 30 and box office takings amounted to Euros 420m. This was Euros 6m upon last year - a real increase not influenced by inflation since the averageticket price remained stable at Euro 5.81.

German films' market share at 13.9% was higher than in thefirst six months of 2001 and 2002 although lower than last year (17.1%) becausethere hadn't been a release on a par with GoodBye, Lenin! in the period up to June 30. However, the statistics would havelooked quite different if one had included the month of July and the release ofMichael "Bully" Herbig's sci-fi spoof (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 which was seen by 2.1mcinema-goers on its first weekend.

To date, Herbig's film has posted over 7.2m admissions andis now the most successful release so far this year, which would probably bringthe domestic market share near to the 20% mark.