Babelsberg, Joel Silver pact for pics

Deal covers 15 Dark Castle films

Producer Joel Silver has signed a five-year, 15-pic co-production pact with Germany’s Studio Babelsberg.

Pics will be produced under the Dark Castle Entertainment label and be distribbed by Warner Bros.

Pact will expand Babelsburg’s role as co-producer. Babelsberg topper Carl Woebcken would not specify how many of the pics would shoot at the studio, located just outside Berlin, but said the first project is expected there in the spring.

Last year was Babelsberg’s most profitable since 1992, thanks to a slew of major Hollywood productions including Silver’s “Speed Racer.” It saw net earnings soar to $9.3 million, after a $4.2 million loss in 2006.

Aside from “Speed Racer,” Warner Bros. used Babelsberg for “Ninja Assassin” and “V for Vendetta.”

Other pics made at Babelsberg include Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader,” starring Kate Winslet; Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie”; and Tom Tykwer’s “The International.”

Babelsberg, which had fallen on hard times in the decade after the Berlin Wall fell, is the main beneficiary of the German Federal Film Fund, which the government launched last year to support domestic and international productions shooting in the country.

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