• Box Office

German-Speaking Box Office December 27, 2021

The December holidays have always been the highlight of the year when it comes to the box office. In the US, the intensity of those days can only be compared to Memorial Day or the Fourth of July weekend. In the rest of the world, the end of December usually achieves the highest audience numbers. Not so this year.

A 47% drop in tickets sold over the Christmas weekend is a huge setback for German cinemas. This number is not in comparison with pre-pandemic years but with only the previous weekend. A total of 636,000 theatergoers equals 47.1% less than the week prior. Revenue of barely 6.3 million euros marks a similar 47.3% loss.

These German box office figures only look reasonable in comparison with 2020: they are 10% higher in ticket sales, 16.9% higher in revenue. This year, 3165 films were shown in cinemas, versus 3292 the year before, very different from the pre-pandemic levels of 4176 films shown in 2019. That same year the total box office was 961 million euros when a little more than 110 million tickets were sold. This year we are looking at 343 million euros and 38.6 million sold tickets. That is minus a whopping 65%.

Spider-Man: No Way Home – although still holding on to the top spot of the charts – had a crash-landing this last weekend. Registering 360,000 tickets sold and 3.7 million euros at the box office, Spider-Man’s latest episode tumbled 56% in its second week. Still, the film was soaring above a newcomer expected to make a much bigger splash than it did: The Matrix Resurrections opened in number two with 106,000 tickets sold and 1.1 million euros in box office results. Seems Neo took the wrong pill. A lot of hope was riding on the newest installment of this franchise and the big question is: can The Matrix get up the speed and fly into first place in the next coming days?

At this point, the film that got mixed reviews from the critics, House of Gucci, looks like a real winner: in its fifth week, it still held on to the third spot with 35,000 sold tickets and 370,000 euros in receipts. The fact that the majority of films in the German-speaking countries are dubbed might have helped Gucci’s success – the otherwise confusing Italian accents are homogenized in the German version. Or, maybe, Golden Globe winner Jared Leto has a lot more fans there. Number four belongs to Encanto, with Clifford, The Big Red Dog holding steadfastly to the number five spot.

In Austria, the comparative numbers do not look much better. About 98,000 people wearing N95-masks went to the movies, generating 1.11 million euros. Here too, Spider-Man dominated the top spot, notwithstanding the 45% drop in comparison with the equivalent Christmas weekend two years ago.

If we look at Germany for the entire year, 2021’s ten best film starts are: No Time To Die (the only opening that saw more than a million people flocking to theaters), Spider-Man: No Way Home, Fast & Furious 9, Dune, Tenet, Venom 2, Paw Patrol and Eternals. Only two homegrown German productions, Die Schule der Magischen Tiere (The School of the Magical Animals) and After Truth rounding out the top ten. The downward tendency is clear and does not bode well for a wide variety of genres.