Distribution reports: Germany

Local distributors weather the downturn

The global credit crunch may be having a detrimental impact on independent film production around the world, but with plenty of local pics in the pipeline and selected foreign acquisitions, including a slew of high-profile titles, German distribs are weathering the ongoing storm.

Constantin Film, the country’s biggest producer-distributor, is primarily counting on inhouse productions this year, including tentpole family pic “Vicky the Viking,” which hits screens Sept. 9.

Of the 15 planned releases for 2009, 10 are inhouse or co-productions, according to Martin Moszkowicz, who oversees production, theatrical distribution and marketing at Constantin. Local comedy “Maennersache” has already scored big for the distrib this year, grossing more than $15 million.

“We expect to buy fewer films than in the past years,” Moskowicz says. “There is less ‘A’ product available in the independent marketplace.”

For indie shingle Prokino, the downturn in global production is unlikely to have a major impact on operations this year. The company releases seven to eight films a year, both inhouse productions and acquired pics. It had a big hit last year with French comedy “Welcome to the Sticks” and is enjoying a successful run with “Slumdog Millionaire,” which has grossed more than $12 million.

But Prokino co-managing director Ira von Gienanth says effects of the downturn may be felt in 2010. “The circle might take until the beginning of next year to show fewer films and/or at least a deflation in budgets. Perhaps we will see a more cautious take on what product will find financing. For us who are looking for crossover auteur films, I’m not too worried, since these filmmakers will always find coin.”

CINEMA STATS

Total 2008 box office: $1.03 billion

Total 2008 releases: 471

Biggest indie hit: “The Baader Meinhof Complex” ($23 million)

Local breakout for 2009: “Vicky the Viking”

PICKUPS:

  • “Shutter Island” (Concorde)

  • “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” (Constantin)

  • “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story” (Prokino)

  • “The Ghost” (Kinowelt)

  • “Rudo y Cursi” (Tobis)

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