Box-office takings and cinema admissions in Germany are up 30% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2008, according to figures collated by Nielsen EDI.
In the period January 3-March 23, German cinemas have been experiencing an unexpected, but welcome, revival in popularity after the disappointing results of last year. They posted takings of $345.5m (EUR218.7m) and admissions of 35.4 million - a vast improvement on 2007's weak first three months which saw only 27.4 million admissions and takings of $262.2m (EUR166m).
Performance so far this year is also more than 20% above the same period in 2005 and 2006 ($284.8m and $286.9m respectively). Moreover, there was only one weekend in these first three months where fewer than 2 million tickets were sold, and seven releases have so far scored more than 1 million admissions each - whereas only two managed this in the same period last year.
The first quarter's top release is Til Schweiger's Keinohrhasen, which was co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros and has generated $46.3m (EUR29.3m) from 4.38 million admissions since the beginning of January. The romantic comedy, which was released December 20, stars Schweiger, Nora Tschirner and Matthias Schweighofer and has a cumulative total of $58.8m (EUR37.2m) and 5.7 million admissions.
German-UK documentary Earth comes second and has become the most successful release in the history of distributor Universum Film, with $26.4m (EUR16.7m) and 2.7 million admissions. Earth is also now Germany's most successful nature documentary, beating March Of The Penguins which posted 1.46 million admissions for Kinowelt in 2005-06. In addition, the German release of Earth has topped the film's performance in such territories as France and Japan.
At the same time, the top US film during this quarter - in third position - is I Am Legend with $25.4m (EUR16.1m) and 2.4 million admissions.
Warner Bros is unsurprisingly the market leader for the first three months, with a massive 30% share thanks to Keinohrhasen and I Am Legend as well as Roland Emmerich's 10,000 BC and Rob Reiner's The Bucket List, followed some way back by Walt Disney and Twentieth Century Fox.