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Margot Robbie in »Barbie«: Recognizable »Radiation« Effect on Other Films

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures / AP

Summer is traditionally not an easy season for the German cinema industry. The number of spectators depends heavily on the weather, and on sunny days it is not uncommon for them to break in. Football tournaments are also held during this time, which dampen the popularity of the public. But this year, the films that were released between the end of June and the end of August were extremely successful, above all, of course, the mega-hits "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer".

Together, the two films already have well over nine million viewers. But »Rehragout-Rendezvous« also comes in at just under 1.4 million, setting a new record for the Eberhofer series – although Rita Falk, author of the original, distanced herself from the adaptation. And the monster movie »Meg 2: The Depth« is doing much better in Germany than the first part, although it is doing worse worldwide than its predecessor.

This cinema summer is the strongest since 2017, at the end of July, for example, almost twice as many viewers came as in the same period in 2019, the last summer before the pandemic.

These figures have been determined by the market research company Comscore and will present them at the 23rd Film Art Fair in Leipzig, an important industry event and annual meeting place for arthouse cinema operators, which begins on Monday. Bernd Zickert, General Manager of Comscore Movies in Germany, sees a trend.

"Successful films that reach a very broad audience follow other titles in the wake of their success," he reports. This was already evident at the beginning of the year in James Cameron's fantasy epic "Avatar 2: The Way of Water" and is now continuing with "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie". Both films will be shown in all cinemas, multiplex and arthouse," says Zickert. He speaks of a "radiation" effect.


There are some indications of this, which are then also reflected in the results of films that came to the cinema after ›Barbie‹ and ›Oppenheimer‹. The activation of people is not only due to the occasional bad weather, but also to films that make you want to go to the cinema and obviously have social relevance.«

Theatrical trailers have a big effect on audience popularity

One of the reasons why blockbusters can act as boosters on general audience popularity is trailers and the promotion of the films in cinemas. They would have a major effect on future cinema visits, according to Zickert.

"Opening up completely new target groups for cinema is complicated and time-consuming. People who have already enjoyed going to the cinema and go regularly are logically more receptive and easier to persuade to do so even more often.«

It is not to be expected that a phenomenon like the "Barbenheimer" hype will be repeated anytime soon. Nevertheless, the industry can draw conclusions from the success of the last few weeks, Zickert believes: "Quality works. When someone goes to the cinema, the experience has to be right. It's a planned activity that requires a certain amount of effort: I have to leave the house, move to the venue, possibly look for a parking space and buy a ticket for the film – I only do all this if the comfort in the cinema is right and the film has aroused my curiosity.«