German cinemas are expected to have shattered the €1bn ($1.31bn) turnover barrier in 2012.

According to provisional data collated by Rentrak for the period from 29 Dec 2011 to 30 Dec 2012, cinemas’ takings totalled €984.9m ($1.29bn) – up 7.8% on the turnover for 2011 – from 618 releases over the past 12 months.

During the same period, the number of tickets sold increased year-on-year by 5% to around 126.9m.

Experience from previous years shows that the final figures for the 2012 box office, as presented by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) on the eve of the Berlinale in early February, add another €40-45m ($52-59m) to the year’s overall takings, which would take the total over €1bn.

Skyfall topples Intouchables

Senator Film’s release of the French comedy Intouchables was 2012’s top film until Sony Pictures released the latest James Bond extravaganza Skyfall in German cinemas on 1 November. By the end of 2012, Sam Mendes’ blockbuster had taken €62.9m ($82.5m) at the box office to take pole position ahead of Intouchables’ take of €62.5m ($82m).

Thanks in great part to Skyfall, which provided Sony with over 40% of its total takings for 2012, the US major knocked 2011’s No. 1 distributor Warner Bros off the top spot, scoring 15.4% market share (compared to 2011’s 11.1%), while Warner had to make do with second position with 13.8% (down from 2011’s 19.5%).

There were also a shuffling of positions between Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Walt Disney, with the latter slipping from third position in 2011 (11.5%) to seventh (5.9%) below 2012’s most successful German independent distributor Senator Film.

Indie success

Berlin-based Senator had posted a 2.4% market share in 2011, largely thanks to the success of the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, but almost trebled its share of the box office last year – to 6.8% (and sixth position in the Top 10) - with the phenomenal success of Intouchables which was still showing on 53 screens at the end of December.

Constantin Film, which had traditionally seen itself as Germany’s leading independent, previously relinquished this crown in 2011 to Herbert Kloiber’s Concorde, the German distributor of the Twilight franchise, and was trounced in 2012 by Senator Film which saw over 90% of its takings and admissions coming from one single release (Intouchables).

Admission millionaires

28 films (including holdovers from 2011) posted more than a million admissions throughout the year, including four German (co-) productions:

  • comedy Türkisch für Anfänger (2.3m);
  • Detlev Buck’s comedy Rubbeldiekatz (1.2m);
  • epic adaptation Cloud Atlas (1m);
  • Enid Blyton adaptation Fünf Freunde (1m).

In 2011, eight German films had been “admission millionaires”, headed by Til Schweiger’s rom-com Kokowääh with its 4.29m admissions

However, Rentrak’s provisional figures show that the market share for the box office of German (co-)productions slipped year-on-year from 18.9% to 13.7%, while the market share for tickets sold for these films decreased from 20.6% to 14.5%.

Top 10 German Box office 2012

  1. Skyfall, Sony Pictures, €62.9m
  2. Intouchables, Senator Film, €62.5m
  3. Ice Age 4, 20th Century Fox, €51.8m
  4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros., €46.1m
  5. Madagascar 3, Paramount, €30.3m
  6. Breaking Dawn: Part 2, Concorde Film, €28.5m
  7. The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros., €27.5m
  8. Marvel’s The Avengers, Walt Disney, €24.5m
  9. Ted, Universal, €24.3m
  10. Men In Black 3, Sony, €20.7m


Top 5 German (co)productions 2012

  1. Türkisch für Anfänger, Constantin Film, €16.4m
  2. Cloud Atlas, X Verleih, €9m
  3. Rubbeldiekatz, Universal, €8.3m
  4. Resident Evil 5: Retribution, Constantin Film, €7.2m
  5. Schutzengel, Warner Bros., €5.5m