Box office receipts at German cinemas increased 6.3% year-on-year to Euros 271.4m in the first quarter of 2002 - although admissions slipped by 2.2% (1m) to 45.2m, according to official figures released by the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

The FFA explained that the discrepancy between revenues and admissions was probably caused by the success of (amongst others) The Lord Of The Rings which had incurred a supplement to the normal entrance charge because of its longer running time.

Admissions to German productions grew by 2% to give a market share of 15.9% thanks to Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika), the sci-fi thriller Resident Evil, and the teen comedies Knallharte Jungs and Feuer, Eis Und Dosenbier.

Link's film was the only local film to attract more than 1m admissions in the first quarter, while last year's blockbuster Der Schuh Des Manitu sold another 600,000 tickets by the end of March.

The top film of the first three months was The Lord Of The Rings with 5.65m admissions, followed by Ocean's Eleven with 4.31m; Monsters, Inc. and Ice Age both attracted over 3m cinema-goers and Rush Hour 2 over 2m.

Provisional figures for the first quarter saw German video distributors' sales increasing 47% from 2001's Euros 124.3m to Euros 182.8m this year thanks in particular to the growing popularity of DVDs.