German web plans U.S. co-financing, acquisitions

LONDON — RTL Television, Germany’s leading commercial web, has signed a theatrical distribution deal with Bernd Eichinger’s Constantin Film for the German and Austrian markets.

The agreement will cover an estimated five to 10 features per year, beginning next year, and puts into place the apparatus RTL needs to make its planned move into co-financing and acquiring U.S. features. RTL will cover all P&A costs and Constantin will release the films for a distribution fee.

“Through this partnership we can focus more on the acquisition of so-called all-rights for the German language market directly from U.S. theatrical producers,” Constantin Lange, RTL’s general secretary, said.

RTL Television’s parent, RTL Group, has been working for some time on re-vamping its former rights and co-production arm, CLT-UFA Intl., into a new entity geared towards breaking into the U.S. features market.

Constantin is now supplied by both of Germany’s top broadcasting groups, RTL and the Kirch Group, a shareholder in Constantin. The company also has its own production and development deals.

“The partnership with RTL emphasizes our focus on premium product for the German speaking market,” Constantin’s film distribution head, Thomas Friedl, said.

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