Germany's rocky ride continues as the 2007 box office looks set to stall, writes Martin Blaney.

Germany's cinema fortunes were revived in 2006 after a poor 2005, with a year-on-year increase in box-office takings of 9.6%, and admissions rising by 7.9%. But exhibitors have had little to cheer in the first five months of 2007. A lack of strong titles, plus the warm April weather, saw cinema attendances falter.

Despite the early May arrival of Spider-Man 3, taking $15.5m (EUR11.6m) in its opening weekend, revenue was down year-on-year by 14.5% and admissions dropped 16%. And although Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End has taken $40m-plus since its May release, there are fears it may not reach 5 million admissions. Exhibitors' hopes are pinned on tentpoles Shrek The Third and Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.

On the digital cinema front, an economic model for investment in equipment is expected this summer and the roll-out could begin in earnest from 2008, according to Chris Koppelmeier, consultant to German Digital Cinema Group.

However, Thomas Negele of exhibitors' association HDF Kino stresses that 'the conditions for the transition to digital need to be clarified. An assessment of the cost of investments, the savings that will be achieved by distributors, the risks of piracy etc, is required.'