November 2017

The numbers speak for themselves: around 7,500 delegates, including some 1,500 buyers from 71 countries and 445 exhibitors – anyone who has films to sell or wants to buy some new titles comes to Santa Monica in November. One of the leading international film markets, the American Film Market (AFM), has been held in California, not far from Hollywood, since 1981.

The AFM offers European sales agents particularly good access to the markets in the USA, Asia and Latin America, so six sales companies from Germany were represented at the stand organized by German Films this year.

Expansion in the Asian markets

The Asian film markets are growing. This could also be observed at the AFM where the largest delegations of buyers came from China and Taiwan and posted a 35 % year-on-year increase in numbers. The highest proportion of buyers attending the market for the first time came from China (13) and South Korea (11). Exhibitors from South Korea and China also posted the largest growth after the USA with a 13 % increase apiece. Both Hong Kong and Japan showed a very strong visual presence with large spaces for their umbrella stands.

Animation and action from Germany proving popular

The trend towards Asia is also reflected in the sales of the German films. A lot of titles were sold to those territories. Another observation was that particularly animated films and action films "Made in Germany" were very well received.

The German sales companies ARRI Media International, Beta Cinema, Global Screen, The Match Factory, Media Luna New Films, Picture Tree International and Sola Media were very satisfied with the 2017 edition of the AFM. Not only with the improved on-site organisational procedures and the upgraded and more spacious suites, but particularly with their sales results.

Beta Cinema's deals included ICEMAN by Felix Randau, which had its world premiere at the festival in Locarno and was sold to Film Movement in the USA. The film, which tells the story of an unsolved murder 5,300 years ago in the Ötztal Alps, also went to the UK (Bulldog), Spain (Festival Films), China (Lemon Tree) and Croatia (Discovery).

The action comedy HOT DOG by Torsten Künstler with the German film stars Matthias Schweighöfer and Til Schweiger was sold worldwide. Picture Tree International sold it to, among others, China (S&C Pictures), Japan (New Select), Spain (Selecta Vision), the Middle East (Gulf Film), CIS (Maxi Vision), Czech Republic/Slovakia (Cinemart), Taiwan (Moviecloud), Ex-Yugoslavia (MCF Megacom Film), and to Encore Airlines.

Claus Räfle's drama THE INVISIBLES, which tells the story of four Jews who survived the Nazi terror by managing to become invisible in the anonymity of Berlin during the Second World War, was sold by Beta Cinema to several territories, being picked up by Greenwich Entertainment for the USA, Signature in the UK, DDDream in China, Lucky Red in Italy, and New Select in Japan, among others. The film also went to Brazil (Mares Filmes), Israel (Nachshon) and Portugal (Pris).

Arri Media International sold its family entertainment titles very well: Joachim Masannek's LILIANE SUSEWIND, which is still in production, went to Middle and South America, the Middle East, Spain and China. HELP, I'VE SHRUNK MY PARENTS was sold to Turkey, the Middle East and China. Also genre films were popular: Oliver Kienle's FOUR HANDS was sold to Japan, Poland, Vietnam and China amongst others, LOCKDOWN by Bogdana Vera Lorenz to China, Japan and Vietnam.

Networking with German® Oscar hopeful

Apart from coordinating the stand for the German sales companies, German Films was also involved in the market reception organized by European Film Promotion and UniFrance. Director Fatih Akin and producer Nurhan Sekerci-Porst attended as special guests. They were in Los Angeles for the Oscar® campaign of their film IN THE FADE which is Germany's candidate in the Best Foreign Language category. Their program included presentations of IN THE FADE at the AFI Fest and screenings for the Golden Globes®.

New event for promoting locations

This year saw the AFM organizing an inaugural event for marketing locations to the film community. "Location EXPO" gave countries an opportunity to showcase their locations. The exhibition space was completely booked up and even more spaces could have been assigned. A total of 61 institutions participated, including Chile, Spain, Norway, New Zealand, Thailand and Russia.

VoD in vogue

It may not be new, but the area of VoD is still very much in vogue. This was the first time that delegates were able to view films "on demand" as well as in the cinema. The option was used for 78 films. The accompanying "Distribution Conference" with presentations and discussion panels also had a focus on VoD exploitation. A total of 264 market premieres and 61 world premieres were shown at the 2017 edition of the AFM.


How many admissions did German feature films have abroad during 2016? Which countries had the most theatrical releases and where were the strongest markets? And which films were particularly well received and in which territories?

German Films has undertaken a comprehensive collation and analysis of the box office and admission figures for 2016:

Box office and admission figures for German films

  • German films posted a total of 405 million Euros international* box office in 2016.
  • They were seen by around 62.3 million cinema-goers.

* The survey covered 84 countries. Countries taken into consideration in the distribution results of Rentrak: Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain & Ireland, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iraq, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya,  Kuwait, Latvia, Libanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain,  Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam

Results for films with majority German production share

  • In 2016, 130 films with a majority German share were released in international cinemas.
  • They were seen by around 13.5 million cinema-goers and generated box office of around 89 million Euros in the cinemas.
  • In Germany, majority German films had around 27 million cinema-goers in 2016 (source: FFA), meaning that, outside of Germany, they reached around 50 % of the admission figures in Germany.
  • If one then also takes into account that majority German films are additionally exploited abroad in other formats (VoD, SVoD, DVD/Blu-ray, pay TV and free TV), they will have been seen by approx. 80 to 100 million cinema-goers abroad.
  • Eleven films were theatrically released in more than 10 territories in 2016, with five of these in more than 15 territories.

Top-selling markets for majority German films in 2016*

  • The European market had a 52.5 % share of the overall international box office in 2016 – as in previous years, this is the most important market for majority German feature films.
  • The top-selling territories in 2016 for majority German films were (excluding Austria and Switzerland): France (21 million US Dollars), Italy (6 million US Dollars), UK & Ireland (3.2 million US Dollars) and Sweden (2 million US Dollars). This is then followed by the USA & Canada and Russia with 1.3 million US Dollars box office apiece.
  • Mention should also be made of Japan outside of the surveyed key territories, with a box office of around 22 million US Dollars, although 21 million were generated by RESIDENT EVIL which was released in the cinemas there at the end of 2016.

The most theatrical releases for majority German films in 2016*

  • The most theatrical releases for majority German films (excluding Austria and Switzerland) were in Spain (26), followed by France as well as the USA & Canada with 15 apiece.

The highest market shares for majority German films in 2016* 

  • Majority German films had their highest market shares in the key territories in France (1.36 %), Denmark (1.09 %) and Sweden (0.88 %).
  • The largest increase in box office year-on-year - between 2016 and 2015 - was to be found in Denmark (+540 %) and Sweden (+250 %), followed by Italy (+ 60 %).

*15 Key Territories were analysed: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK & Ireland, USA & Canada.

Analysis of the strongest Key Territories


  • In France, the 1.36 % market share for majority German films was the highest value reached since records began in 2000. TONI ERDMANN posted very strong figures with 336,000 admissions. The children's film HEIDI was the only other title among the majority German productions during 2016 to be even more successful with almost 687,000 admissions and 4.4 million Euros box office.


  • TONI ERDMANN was the most successful arthouse film in Denmark in 2016. It was seen by 69,000 cinema-goers in 2016 after opening on 1 December, rising to 107,000 by 31.06.2017. The more than fivefold increase in box office takings for German films in this territory is thus largely thanks to the great results for TONI ERDMANN as well as 13 MINUTES, which together amassed a box office of 1.27 million Euros. 13 MINUTES, which deals with a historical topic, was seen by 76,000 cinema-goers. These are extremely remarkable figures given that Denmark has a total population of 5.7 million.


  • In 2016, the animated film PETTSON AND FINDUS 2 was the most successful German film of the last seven years in Sweden. It reached a box office of 1.1 million Euros and over 120,000 admissions – a huge success given that Sweden has a population of 9.9 million. Similar to Denmark, TONI ERDMANN was also very well received in Sweden with admissions of 68,500 and a box office of 755,000 Euros.


  • Along with France, Italy was the top-selling territory (outside of Switzerland and Germany) for the family entertainment film HEIDI with 2.97 million Euros and around 500,000 admissions. It was therefore the most successful majority German film there during 2016, with the horror thriller UNFRIEND and LABYRINTH OF LIES both attracting over 100,000 cinema-goers to the Italian cinemas.


  • The English-language feature film A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING by Tom Tykwer with Tom Hanks in the lead was the most successful majority German production in the USA during 2016 with a box office of over 3.7 million Euros. TONI ERDMANN had only opened on 25 December 2016, but posted a box office of around 1.4 million Euros by 31 March 2017.

UK & Ireland

  • The horror thriller FRIEND REQUEST by Simon Verhoeven reported the best result for a majority German film in the UK & Ireland with a very good box office of 1.8 million Euros. FRIEND REQUEST also had the highest admission figures - 101,200 - reached by any of the German films released in Malaysia during 2016. In addition to its releases in Malaysia and Singapore, the film also screened in Thailand where it reported a good result of 48,703 Euros from 70 prints on its opening weekend.


  • German genre cinema was in demand in Russia: the most popular majority German films in 2016 were A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING (362,000 Euros), FRIEND REQUEST (263,000 Euros) and FACK JU GOEHTE 2 (237,000 Euros).


  • Historical subjects are popular in Australia: the top-selling German film in 2016 was LABYRINTH OF LIES (118,000 Euros). However, if one then considers the distribution of PHOENIX (release date: 03.12.2015), this film reported an even better result with a total box office of 464,000 Euros (as of 31 December 2016).

South America

  • HEIDI was widely distributed throughout South America: the film screened there in 10 countries with a total of 182,000 admissions, with the release in Peru being the most successful with 91,355 admissions

Conclusion: What was well received?

Foreign audiences are interested in a wide range of German films. German animated films and family entertainment formats were well received, but the same goes for genre films, arthouse as well as English-language produced films from Germany and films based on German history.

German animated films are in particular demand at the international box-office. MAYA THE BEE made over 20 million Euros international box office in 2015 and 2016 (without Germany/Austria/Switzerland) with theatrical release in 49 territories, and THE SEVENTH DWARF around 13 million Euros in 42 territories. Although most of these takings were posted in 2015 since most of the theatrical releases were launched during this year. In 2016, there were only a few isolated releases of these films in individual territories and there wasn't any major international release of a German animated film. However, 2017 has had its next international success story: the majority German animated film RICHARD THE STORK has opened in 44 territories to date with a box office of around 10 million Euros (30.09.2017).

In fact, the above average success of animated films in international cinema isn't a purely German phenomenon: the most successful French film abroad in 2015 was the animated film LE PETIT PRINCE.

But non-animated family entertainment is also popular in the international markets as the good box office figures for HEIDI in 25 territories show. 2018 will see several German adaptations of children's books (THE LITTLE WITCH, JIM BUTTON AND LUKE THE ENGINE DRIVER, BENJAMIN THE ELEPHANT) being released in the cinemas, and their international success will be watched with great anticipation.


The 30th edition of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (15 – 26 November 2017) was a good one for German documentaries with a high profile in the competitions, sold-out screenings, Top 10 positions in the audience voting and "major buzz" for a German competition entry at Europe's largest documentary film festival.

No less than eight productions from Germany were prominently featured in the competition sections, four of them as 100 % German productions or with a majority German production share. The film crews were pleased about well-attended screenings.

Talal Derki's OF FATHERS AND SONS (DE/SY, Basis Berlin, Ventana Film- und Fernsehproduktion) in the Feature Film Competition, in particular, generated "major buzz" (Variety) with several sold-out screenings and positive reports in Screen International and Variety, among others. The director had already been invited to the IDFA Feature Film Competition in 2013 with his film RETURN TO HOMS and won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Later that year, he served as a member of the International Jury at IDFA.

The Oscar®-nominated WATANI - MY HOMELAND by Marcel Mettelsiefen (Marcel Mettelsiefen Films) was popular with audiences as could be seen in the online voting for the Audience Award

German Documentaries, an initiative of German Films and AG DOK, hosted a Get Together. Around 150 guests used the event to network at this important industry gathering.

More about the German films at IDFA 2017…


International Emmy Award for the German TV series THE BRAUN FAMILY as Best Short-Form Series. More...

European Film Award nomination for FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS star Paula Beer, AUSTERLITZ and various German co-productions. More...

Awards for German films in Mar del Plata, Valencia, Gijon, Sevilla, Bilbao, Cork, Tokyo, Rome, GentBusan, Beijing and at Chicago Children's Film Festival.


German films in competition and German SCREEN STARS in Tallinn. More...

German films in Havanna, Bahamas, Dubai, Macao, Taipei, Singapore, Kolkata, Goa, Foyle, Mar del Plata, Gjion, Valencia, Torino, Cairo, Arras, Bilbao, at Camerimage, Doc New York and AFI Fest Los Angeles.

German shorts in Ljubljana, Leuven and at Alcine.


1 December 2017:
FOUR AGAINST THE BANK in China (Distributor: Bejing Shangzhou Media Co., World Sales: Picture Tree International)

8 December 2017:
RAVEN THE LITTLE RASCAL – THE BIG RACE in Iceland (Distributor: Myndform, World Sales: SolaMedia)

14 December 2017:
OUR LAST TANGO in Portugal (Distributor: Leopardo Filmes, World Sales: Wide House)
HELP I’VE SHRUNK MY TEACHER in Macedonia (Distributor: Uzengija, World Sales: ARRI Media International)

20 December 2017:
THE HANNAS in France (Distributor: ASC Distribution, World Sales: Pluto Film)

28 December 2017:
MULLEWAPP – A PIG’S TALE in Hungary (Distributor: ADS Service, World Sales: Studiocanal)
MULLEWAPP – A PIG’S TALE in Romania (Distributor: Cineeuropa, World Sales: Studiocanal)


Maria Schrader's STEFAN ZWEIG - FAREWELL TO EUROPE has been seen by 20.000 cinema-goers in Denmark since 7 September 2017. With a population of around 5.7 million this is very impressive.

The overall success of the FACK JU GOEHTE series by Bora Dagtekin is without equal in the German film landscape. With a total of some 15.1 million viewers the first two parts are among the most successful German films ever.

And the success story continues with the final part of the series, FACK JU GOEHTE 3, which was released in German cinemas 26 October 2017. With over 5.5 million cinema-goers and a box office of over 48 million Euros so far it is the most watched film in German cinemas of the current year. Picture Tree International will give FACK JU GOEHTE 3 its international market premiere at Berlin’s European Film Market in February 2018.