Older audiences are helping to drive the German box-office upturn.

The German box office is booming in 2009 — and US titles are the big winners. In the first six months of the year, US films increased their market share from 64% to 73.2% against the same period in 2008, while German titles saw their share shrink from last year’s 26.5% to 21%.

This downturn in the local market share is due largely to the absence of a homemade wide-release blockbuster in the first six months. However, there are high hopes for the second half of the year, and local titles such as romantic comedy Maria, Ihm Schmeckt’s Nicht!, the family film Vicky The Mighty Viking, the medieval drama Pope Joan, Andreas Dresen’s Karlovy Vary winner Whisky With Vodka and Sherry Hormann’s drama Desert Flower.

“Usually, the cinemas’ business is concentrated in a handful of blockbusters with a large slice of the market,” says Johannes Klingsporn, managing director of the German distributors’ association VdF. “But this isn’t the case this year. The results are spread out over many films of different genres.

“Increasingly, good figures are being made by films which are appealing to a completely new audience, older than the core cinema-goers.”

Klingsporn is referring to the success of independent titles such as Prokino’s Slumdog Millionaire, Senator’s The Reader, Warner Bros’ Buddenbrooks and Prokino’s Welcome To The Sticks.

As for the second half of 2009, expectations are running high for such independent releases as Tobis Film’s Broken Embraces, Prokino’s Chéri, MFA’s Antichrist and X Verleih’s The White Ribbon.

  Title (origin) Distributor Box-office gross
1The Reader (US-Ger)Senator$19.6m
2Slumdog Millionaire (UK) Prokino $17.9m
3Mannersache (Ger) Constantin Film $17.3m
4Transporter 3 (Fr-US) Universum $12.8m
5Buddenbrooks (Ger) Warner Bros $8.6m
 *Jan-June 2009