Babelsberg profits tower

Earnings rise to $9.3 million

Studio Babelsberg has had its most successful year since its 1992 privatization, thanks to a slew of major Hollywood productions that shot on its backlot.

The studio posted a net profit of E6 million ($9.3 million) in 2007 compared with a $4.2 million loss in 2006. Annual revenue reached $135.5 million, up a whopping $110 million over the previous year.

The lion’s share of its earnings were generated by the Wachowskis’ “Speed Racer,” Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie” and Tom Tykwer’s “The International,” all of which shot at the studio last year.

The company also attributed its growing success to the German Federal Film Fund, which the government launched last year to support domestic and international productions shooting in the country and which backed those three high-profile productions.

Warner Bros.’ “Speed Racer,” which stars Emile Hirsch, premiered in Berlin on Monday night, the same day that its Wachowskis-produced “Ninja Assassin,” directed by James McTeigue, began shooting at Babelsberg.

It’s the third Warner film that the Wachowskis and producer Joel Silver will have shot at the studio following “V for Vendetta” and “Speed Racer.”

Also set to shoot at the studio in June is Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader,” starring Kate Winslet.

Babelsberg topper Carl Woebcken said the studio is well positioned for this year, adding that it would further develop its co-production division — a key component of the company’s appeal to international producers looking for German financing.

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