• Box Office

German-Speaking Box Office, January 24, 2022

Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley made a big ‘horrifically thrilling’ jump into ninth place of the top ten in Germany. Why is this worth mentioning? Because del Toro’s film is considered arthouse fare. More about Nightmare Alley below. Let’s first take a look at the charts.

The number one spot this last weekend was a bit of a mixed bag: while Spider-Man: No Way Home held steady in terms of sales revenue – it brought in 1,869 million euros, it was new release Sing that had the most movie fans flocking to the cinemas, 339.000 including the previews which amounted to 1.83 million euros. So, one could say, both garnered the number one slot. The King’s Man – the Beginning held on to place three in the charts with 62.000 theatergoers and 591.000 euros, followed by Scream with 59.000 tickets sold and 563.000 euros in sales. Still, amazingly, House of Gucci came in sixth with 46.000 tickets that translated to a weekend revenue of 485.000 euros. The film has so far reached a total of 969.000 people and 9,67 million euros.

Altogether, it was finally a good weekend for German cinema. About 800.000 movie fans went to spend 7,3 million euros, popcorn and Coke not included.

In Austria, Sing clearly left Spidey in the dust with 264.000 versus 208.000 euros. But Austrians apparently love fashion. Or Lady Gaga. Or Al Pacino. Or in general salacious crime stories. The Gucci saga sewed its way back into third place, followed by horror, spy action, and fantasy/crime: Scream came in fourth, The King’s Man fifth and Nightmare Alley (also a new release in Austria) made it into eighth place. Two other new releases, Un Certain Regard-Cannes festival contender Moneyboys and Murat Senoy’s Turkish comedy Benden ne Olur? started in 22nd and 23rd spot respectively, proving the multi-cultural interests of Austrian film aficionados.

Back to Nightmare Alley and its impressive debut: Cate Blanchett, Toni Colette and Bradley Cooper headline this noir thriller about a grifter who teams up with a group of carnies (members of a carnival troupe) and steals their tricks to become a successful mentalist. Only when he hooks up with a female psychiatrist who turns out to be even more manipulative than he could ever be, he ends up back where he started, a poor nobody in rags. The film is based on William Lindsay Gresham’s novel by the same name that first saw a screen adaptation in 1947. Gresham collaborated with Kim Morgan on the screenplay. Thanks to the intent of the author who is widely considered a pulp fiction creator, del Toro merges the book’s style with his well-known faible for fantasy and horror, hallucinatory and psychological. Cooper plays the male lead, Stan Carlisle, a role first inhibited by Tyrone Power in the aforementioned 1947-version. Impressed by mind-reader Zeena (Colette) and her drunkard of a husband (David Strathairn), Stan picks up on the clues that help turn the mental tricks into a money-making business. Stan marries another circus member played by Rooney Mara and they take their act to Chicago. All goes well until he meets his nemesis, the bleach-blonde, red-lipped psychoanalyst Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett).

Given all the name recognition it may not be that surprising that the film made a splash. But in the face of a low marketing budget and COVID times, it certainly is.