2009 Box Office Review - Germany - Part 2
With a market share of greater than 18% of total box office, Warner Bros. became the top distributor in 2009, followed by 20th Century Fox (16%), Sony Pictures (13%) and Constantin Films (10%). Warner’s moved from second position last year to lead the field of distributors on box office revenues of €172 million, fueled by “Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince” and local title, “Rabbit Without Ears 2.” Warner’s was at the top of the box office for 17 weeks and was also able to enjoy the highest theater share at 15% though last year had an 18% theater share with only 16 weeks at number one.
Fox’s second place position was primarily a result of the late year release of “Avatar” but with the strong performance of “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” followed by “Night at the Museum: Battle” (€14 million) went on to earn a 16% market share on cumulative revenues of €149 million. Fox released just 26 pictures to Warner’s 35 this year.
“Angels and Demons” and “2012’s” appeal put Sony third with 13% share with a total take for the year of €126.5 million. Sony held on to the number one box office position for 10 weeks across its 23 releases.
Munich based independent producer/distributor Constantin Films had its strongest year ever, with six blockbuster local-language features topping the 1 million admissions mark. Michael Herbig’s “Vicky the Viking” was the most successful German picture of the year, followed by Sonke Wortmann’s “Pope Joan” (€18 million), Maio Barth’s comedy “Mannersache” (€12 million) and “Horst Schlammer-Isch” (€9 million) all performed well for the powerhouse local distributor. Constantin had the fewest releases of the top five performing distributors with 20.
Disney placed fifth among distributors with a 9.8% market share and revenues of €92 million while Universal was sixth with 6.9% and earned €64.7 million in cumulative box office for the year.
Concorde Film’s “Twilight” and “Twilight New Moon” placed at eighth and tenth for the year with enough momentum to earn Concorde a 5.7% market share, up from 2.9% in 2008.
Paramount and Universum trailed Concorde with market shares of 4.8% and 2.9%, respectively.
Another local distributor, Prokino ranked tenth for the year with a 2.2% market share and earnings of €20.7 million primarily as a result of its success with “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Five Hollywood animated productions scored more than €5 million at the box office this year. Led by 3D versions of “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Up,” “Princess and the Frog”(€8 million),“Disney’s A Christmas Carol”(€7.8 million)“ and Bolt”(€6.7 million), the higher ticket price makes this an attractive market segment for both distributors and exhibitors.
With earnings for “Prinzessin Lillefee,” at €4.6 million, “Niko” at €3.8 million, “Laura Stern & Der Drache” at €2.6 million and “ Mullewapp-Grosse Kinoabent” at €2.5 million, clearly the locally produced, animated 2D films are no match for the Hollywood entries. The best performer here ranked #54 in the overall top performing box office chart for the year.
With the success of “Avatar,” “Harry Potter,” “2012” and “Star Trek” (€9.1 million), local production “Lilly the Witch” (€6.1) and “District 9” (€3.5 million), fantasy sci-fi resonated with the audience.
But the Germans consistently come to see comedy. German romantic comedies ”Rabbit Without Ears 2” and Warner’s “Mannerherzen” (€14 million) were numbers one and three in comedy, with American comedy “The Hangover” breaking in to number two with a €14.2 million cumulative box office. Fifteen comedies grossed more than €5 million for the year.
Action adventure “Vicky the Viking” led titles “Inglorious Basterds” (€16 million), “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (€14 million), “Fast & Furious” (€11 million) and “G-Force” (€11 million) in the top 5 for this genre. “Transformers” opened at €6.3 million, almost as big as the local favorite but ended up with just under half its overall take.
Nine dramas earned more than €5m with the “Twilight” franchise accounting for €43 million of a total €202 million in the genre. “Twilight New Moon” attained an impressive €16 thousand theater average, almost twice as much as the first film’s theater average. “Pope Joan” came in third position here with 542 prints at its widest release.
Ellen Pittleman, http://hybridentus.com, is a veteran studio executive based in Los Angeles. Most recently, she served as SVP, International Co-Productions and Worldwide Acquisitions for Paramount Pictures. She also launched the DVD Premiere group there, with films including Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and the sequel to the $100MM+ “Save the Last Dance.” Working from a marketing and distribution perspective, she consults on strategic planning, deal negotiation, acquisitions, film library valuation and feature development with clients from Rio to London to Beijing. She’s also currently developing a feature on George Foreman’s comeback years, among other projects.