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'List's' Viewership Large in Germany, Other Countries

March 07, 1994|MARJORIE MILLER

BONN — During its first three days in Germany with a limited distribution, "Schindler's List" drew a large audience--more than 62,000 viewers--and sparked a demand for the film in cities where it is not yet playing.

The audience size "rates between excellent and outstanding," said Fred Sorg, general manager in Germany for United International Pictures (UIP), which is distributing the film in Europe. UIP is jointly owned by Universal Pictures (distributor of "Schindler's List" in the United States), Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Early box-office figures from Japan, Australia, England and France also were strong.

"Schindler's List" opened in Germany on Thursday, two weeks earlier than originally planned and on a relatively limited basis with just 35 copies, two dozen of them dubbed and 11 originals with partial subtitles. By contrast, "Philadelphia" opened in Germany with 203 copies.

Nevertheless, from Thursday through Saturday, 62,800 people saw "Schindler's List," in Germany, spending about $500,000 at the box office. Another 25,000 Germans were expected to see the film on Sunday, Sorg said in a telephone interview from Frankfurt.

"The demand is incredibly high. People are phoning in to reserve tickets even in cities where it is not yet playing," he said.

On Sunday, UIP also reported that the movie, which is limited in the number of playing times due to its three-hour-plus length, was doing big business in Japan--$1.5 million in its first four days in 51 theaters.

Australian business was strong with $1.6 million grossed after three weeks in 48 theaters.

In England, the film had played on only 14 screens its first two weeks and pulled in $672,000, but was expanded to 147 theaters on Friday and took in an estimated $900,000 more over the weekend. In France, $295,000 in tickets were sold during the movie's first two nights, last Wednesday and Thursday, at 94 theaters.

Sorg said UIP hoped to deliver another 60 copies of the film to German theaters by Thursday and 100 more next week. He said the film originally had been scheduled to open on March 17, but director Steven Spielberg's visit last week pushed up the opening. The black-and-white prints, with some hand-painted color, take longer to produce than the typical color film.


Times Bonn bureau researcher Ulli Seibert and movie writer David J. Fox in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

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