Magazine article Variety

Local Pics on Track to Click Big at the B.O

Magazine article Variety

Local Pics on Track to Click Big at the B.O

Article excerpt

Germany's film industry is set for a very good year, with a slew of high-profile local films drawing strong B.O. at home, while also performing well on the international festival circuit, while the government gave a major boost in film funding.

The return of Michael Herbig with Warner's "Bullyparade - Der Film," an adaptation of the multi-hyphenate's hit TV comedy sketch show, has already lit up the box office: The film opened Aug. 17 with 485,000 admissions, the best start of any German film since the hit high school comedy "Fack ju Goehte 2" bowed in September 2015.

Not surprisingly, the third installment of Constantin Film's hugely successful "Fack Ju Goehte" franchise is among the most highly anticipated of this year's releases.

Local pics are sure to propel the year's box office, which could use a boost after declining more than 12% last year from €1.17 billion ($1.38 billion) in 2015 to just over $1.2 billion. German films accounted for 22.7% of the total 121.1 million admissions in 2016, down from 27.5% the previous year. Yet local productions already saw an improved performance in the first half of the year with a 10.3% revenue increase to $84 million, according to trade publication Blickpunkt Film.

Top German titles in the first six months included DCM's "Bibi & Tina: Perfect Pandemonium," Detlev Buck's latest installment in his hugely successful franchise about a teen witch with $10 million; Studiocanal's "My Blind Date With Life," Marc Rothemund's true story of a visually impaired man whose extraordinary determination lands him a job at a prestigious hotel, with $4.6 million; and "Vier gegen die Bank," Warner's star-studded comedy heist pic and Wolfgang Petersen's first German-language film in more than 30 years, released at the end of 2016 and taking in some $8 million-plus.

Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin's executive chairman, says the group has so far enjoyed a good year and is expecting an even better second half.

"'Fack Ju Goehte 3,' the third installment of the most successful German movie franchise of all time, will be this year's No. 1 movie opening in October everywhere in Germany," he says. "Constantin is having a very strong third quarter so far. We currently have three movies in the top 10 on approximately 1,500 screens and with an overall market share of more than 25%."

The producer-distributor's current hits include Bavarian cop comedy "Griesnockerlaffaire"; "Ostwind - Aufbruch nach Ora," the second sequel to the popular franchise about a girl and her horse, this time around on a galloping adventure in Spain; and Leander Haussmann's family comedy "Das Pubertier," about a hapless father witnessing the transformation if his sweet little girl into a petulant teen with the onset of puberty.

Moszkowicz expects "an outstandingly strong year overall - with several blockbusters coming until the end of the year."

Those include "Jugend ohne Gott" (Youth Without God), a dystopian drama set in the near future in a school for high achievers and loosely based on the 1937 anti-fascist novel by Odon von Horváth (published in English as "The Age of the Fish"); "Tigermilch" (Tiger Milk), about the close friendship of two teenage girls coming of age in Berlin's urban jungle; and Rothemund's other fact-based drama, "Das Bescheuerte Herz" (This Crazy Heart), which stars Elyas M'Barek (of "Fack ju Goehte" fame) as a privileged young man who befriends a terminally ill teenage boy. …

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