Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007 - Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

International Edition No. 207 - year 18 - 4 February 2023

Special issue on the occasion of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival

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Dear Readers,

Elisabetta Brunella

this is the first of the “special issues" devoted by MEDIA Salles to the Berlinale this year, concentrating here on the German market.
You will find the initial statistics provided by Comscore which, whilst not counting all cinemas, offers a penetrating view of cinema-going in Germany. In addition there is an interview with Felix Bruder, secretary general of the association of arthouse cinemas, focussing on the exit strategy from the situation unleashed by the pandemic.
The interactive map, here in its updated version, presents some of the most significant experiments undertaken by German movie theatres to reduce their environmental impact: this is one more great challenge that must be faced by cinemas preparing for a future marked by many innovations.
Until we meet in Berlin,

Elisabetta Brunella
Secretary General of MEDIA Salles



Key figures

While we await the figures traditionally published by the FFA at the beginning of the Berlinale, let’s anticipate something of the trend in cinema-going in Germany in 2022, thanks to data collected by Comscore.
Ticket sales came to 73.5 million with an 82.6% rise compared to 2021. The drop compared to 2019, the year immediately preceding the pandemic is, instead, 33.1%.
Gross box-office rises by 92.5%, which, in line with a widespread trend in Europe, is greater than the growth of audiences. The average ticket price, which dropped significantly in the fateful year 2020, has thus started rising again.

Domestic films

German films account for almost 17 million spectators, i.e. around 9 million more than the previous year, with a market share of 23% of the total. In particular the sequel of "Die Schule der magischen Tiere", a German-Austrian co-production,
comes eighth in the list of most widely viewed movies, having been chosen by around two and a half million spectators.
On the whole this is a flattering result for domestic movies, which not only improve on their 2021 performance, but also on those of 2018 and 2019, a factor Germany shares with only a handful of other European countries.


The Berlinale is a great opportunity for exhibitors in the German arthouse sector to meet, and their Annual General Meeting is always held during the Festival.
This year, however, there is a new initiative: we discuss it with Felix Bruder, Secretary General of the association AG Kino - Gilde which represents 380 arthouse cinemas in Germany.

During this 2023, which we hope will succeed in bringing pre-pandemic audiences back into cinemas, on the eve of the Berlinale an event devoted to all the various expressions of German cinema exhibition is to be held. What is it exactly?

Together with HDF, the association representing commercial theatres, and with the Bundesverband kommunale Filmarbeit, we have organized Cinema Vision 2030, a meeting that will help the whole sector to identify guidelines for building the future of cinema exhibition.

The initiative is located in the context of the “Neustart Kultur” programme, promoted by the Federal Government Commissioner for culture and the media to support an innovative approach in the sectors of the media and culture.
Cinema Vision 2030 will start out from an analysis of what has happened from summer 2022, when the first edition of this international conference took place: in fact, in the second half of the year spectators returned to cinemas but not to the extent hoped for, which put to a hard test the confidence that exhibitors had continued to nurture even during the pandemic. The first 2023 results are instead more reassuring, even in a sector such as ours, where Avatar only counts marginally. And so, what are the ideas and strategies that have proved the most promising for recovery? What “lessons” can be learned? What are the most successful practices tried out in Germany and the rest of the world?
We talk about this with international experts, who will tackle subjects such as ensuring audience loyalty by creating a community of spectators, or the role of events for placing the theatre in a distinctive position.

Amongst the events able to distinguish a cinema’s offer, do you include festivals as well?

Of course, in the synergy with festivals, whether international and world-famous like the Berlinale or of a more local character, we see an opportunity for the development and consolidation of those spectator communities that are an authentic strongpoint for the life of a cinema and cinemas in general. Not by chance, we shall be having talks by Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeck, co-chiefs of the Berlinale.

You have told us that your initiative is supported by the German Government. Are there other measures able to help exhibitors recover from the effects of the pandemic?

Luckily, in 2019 the "Zukunftsprogramm Kino” (Future cinema programme), had already been put into practice, i.e. a fund made available by the Ministry of Culture and managed by the FFA (the federal film board). During the Covid outbreak it even received an extra boost of 30 million euros, both in 2020 and in 2021, and exhibitors were able to apply for financing to cover up to 80% of the cost of their projects. Therefore, many of them took advantage of the period of forced closure to have work carried out on their structures which they would not have been able to do if the cinema had been open to the public as usual.

Undoubtedly a good sign of confidence in a period representing a threat never previously experienced. And is the Programme still continuing?

Yes, it’s still going on, though the annual financing has returned to that foreseen under normal conditions, i.e. 15 million euros, with a limit of supporting 40% of the cost of the project.

One burning question for the sector is that of sustainability and in particular energy consumption. What steps is AG Kino - Gilde taking in this field?

Five years ago we approved the initiative KINO: NATÜRLICH, a project to give advice to the cinemas on how to change their business model towards more sustainability. In this field, too, we achieved that exhibitors can obtain funding from the FFA to reduce the theatre’s environmental impact. In the meantime we have experienced an evolution both in mentality and in legislation. For example, all businesses in Germany must now use re-usable containers. But the area on which KINO: NATÜRLICH is now concentrating is that of energy costs, which have risen so sharply that the very survival of our cinemas is at stake. And this would really be a huge loss both on a social and on a cultural level, also with regard to the spread of European filmmaking.

Can you give us an example or two?

Our theatres are often located in medium-sized or even small centres and act as social and cultural mediators in the area. There, too, they manage to bring quality films, domestic productions and works from a variety of countries. As to European cinema, we carried out a survey on the market shares of German and other European films. We saw that in our cinemas the share of domestic films but also European films, is far higher than it is on the overall market. According to the year concerned, it is even double or three times the overall share. This is why we want to have a future and, indeed, are preparing for the future!

Market share of European films in Germany (German films not included)

Source: AG Kino – Gilde. Analysis based on around 1 000 titles.


Green cinemas in Germany: best experiences, financial support, information tools for cinema exhibitors

This is an extract of the constantly updated map “Green cinemas in Europe” that you can consult here

To know more about sustainability in German cinemas read the articles in the column GREEN CINEMAS of the DGT online informer

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Edito da: MEDIA Salles - Reg. Trib.
Milano n. 418 dello 02/07/2007
Direttore responsabile:
Elisabetta Brunella
Coordinamento redazionale:
Silvia Mancini
Raccolta dati ed elaborazioni statistiche: Paola Bensi, Silvia Mancini