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BERLIN — Germany’s record-breaking heatwave has helped to create a profit drought at Constantin Film, Germany’s biggest indie producer-distrib.

Constantin posted a half-year net loss of e2.6 million ($2.9 million) on Wednesday, down from a $6.7 million deficit in the same period last year. Sales were down 43% to $40 million.

Company also lowered its full-year forecast and is now expecting an annual loss for 2003.

Constantin blamed the unusually hot weather across Germany, which has kept moviegoers out of cinemas, and lower than expected sales in the period.

Delayed revs

Revenue from its upcoming thriller “Wrong Turn” won’t be booked until the third quarter, while world sales for 2002’s hit “Resident Evil” were already included in last year’s second quarter results.

“By comparison with the first six months of 2002, the primary shortfalls are a substantial reduction in theatrical and international sales,” company said. “The results of theatrical exploitation are being influenced by the general crisis caused in the theater business by the hot summer weather that has gone on for months now.”

Constantin said consulting expenses incurred with the takeover of a majority interest in the company by Swiss-based media group Highlight Communications earlier this year helped push the company into the red.

“The German media market is still going through a critical shakeout and consolidation phase,” company added.

As a result, Constantin said it now expected a pre-tax loss for the year of $9 million to $13.5 million and sales of $112 million instead of the $135 million to $150 million it previously predicted.

String of hits

Constantin has produced and distributed a string of hits in the past two years that have included Oscar winner “Nowhere in Africa,” “Manitou’s Shoe” and last year’s most successful pic, “Bibi Blocksberg.”

Yet it has seen its market share sink to 4.7% this year from an average 8.4% last year. Once the top German distrib, company has had to cede its position to Berlin-based X Verleih, which has an 8.4% market share thanks to its hugely successful pic “Good Bye, Lenin!”

Constantin’s upcoming titles also include Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool” and “Autobahnraser,” about a group of fast and furious Teutonic speedsters.