Constantin to release in 2009
BERLIN — Michael “Bully“ Herbig, Germany’s most successful director, will next shoot a live-action adaptation of the beloved Japanese-German animated series “Vicky the Viking” for the big screen.Originally based on the children’s book by Swedish author Runer Jonsson and produced by Japanese animation studio Zuiyo Enterprise Company (which later morphed into Nippon Animation), “Vicky the Viking” became a huge hit in Germany and Austria when it premiered on ZDF and ORF in 1974 and later went on to similar success throughout much of Europe. Herbig’s adaptation will be produced by Christian Becker (“The Wave“) of Rat Pack Filmproduktion, a subsidiary of Constantin Film, which is co-producing along with Herbig’s HerbX Film. “Vicky the Viking” is set to hit theaters in 2009 as a Constantin release. Herbig’s last three films have grossed more than $190 million combined, making him Germany’s most profitable director. His most recent pic, the animated “Lissi,” a spoof of the hugely popular “Sissi” trilogy from the 1950s, which starred Romy Schneider as the 19th-century Bavarian princess who became empress of Austria, has underperformed compared with the helmer’s earlier pics, but the film’s $20 million cume nevertheless made it one of last year’s most successful local productions.