'Titanic' Boost Swamps Teutonic Pictures (in Germany)

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Friday, April 17, 1998 10:09 AM BERLIN (Variety) - German movie theater owners are breaking out the champagne, but local filmmakers are left crying in their beer. Riding high on the "Titanic" wave, German box offices sold 42.8 million tickets during the first quarter of 1998, an increase of more than 11 million over the year-ago period. But homegrown pictures recorded a very slow first quarter. According to box office statistics, Teutonic productions claimed only 7.9% of the German box office during the first three months of 1998 -- a precipitous drop from 1997's market share of 17.29%. Joseph Vilsmaier's period picture "Comedian Harmonists" sold more than 2 million tickets during the first quarter of 1998, but the remaining 17 German releases were unable to scrape together a million admissions among them. Industry observers attribute the downturn in large part to the dominance of "Titanic." "The theaters were blocked for weeks," noted Carsten Pfaff, chief statistician at the Wiesbaden-based Leading Organization of the Film Industry (SPIO). But some officials believe the pictures themselves also played a role. The university setting of the much-anticipated February release "The Campus," Pfaff speculates, "may have been too specific to attract a wider audience." Reuters/Variety

-- Dan Draghici (ddraghic@sprint.ca), April 17, 1998



-- Thomas M. Terashima (titanicShack@yahoo.com), May 14, 1998.

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