Tying down one of Germany’s most-pursued film talents, Constantin Film has re-upped its exclusive output deal with Bora Dagtekin, the helmer-scribe of smash-hit high-school comedy franchise “Fack ju Gohte” (“Suck Me Shakespeer”), Constantin announced Wednesday.
Running a further 3.5 years, the deal envisages Constantin and Dagtekin’s development and production of two-to-three new movies.
That is a coup. Produced and distributed by Constantin Film and written and directed by Dagtekin, his latest movie, “Suck Me Shakespeer 2” (pictured) scored a humungous 7.7 million in ticket sales last year in Germany, grossing an estimated $70.2 million.
The original “Suck Me Shakespeer” in 2013, also produced and released in Germany by Constantin, punched 7.4 million admissions and earned an estimated $71.9 million at the box office. Dagtekin’s 2012 debut “Turkish for Beginners,” another Constantin title, garnered 2.5 million admissions for a box office take of about $21.7 million.
“Bora Dagtekin is an exceptional artist within the German filmmaking community. More than anybody else, he combines zeitgeist, innovation and quality and success. We are very proud to be able to work with Bora for the coming years,” said Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin Film exec board chairman.
“Constantin Film is the best possible professional home that you can wish for as a filmmaker,” Dagtekin added, saying he was looking forward to new projects with Moszkowicz; Constantin’s Torsten Koch; Constantin’s Lena Schoemann, producer of “Turkish” and “Shakespeer”; and Elyas M’Barek, star of all three of his films. That could be a hint that he already has an idea of at least the first of the titles in the output deal.
A revival of Germany’s high-school comedy, once a film staple in the country, “Shakespeer” stars M’Barek as an ex-con who can hardly spell but takes on a job as a teacher just to recover the loot from a heist that is buried at the school. The movie turns teen comedy conventions on their head, Shoemann told Variety earlier this year: “Our premise was: What would happen if the teachers are the ones who are having problems becoming adults and taking on responsibility, rather than the teenagers?”
Dagtekin’s films are also dramatic examples of the growing number of local comedic blockbusters that increasingly outgross Hollywood comedies around the world. Made on relatively small budgets by Hollywood standards, they can also be put out on wide release in markets like Germany whose P & A costs pale before those for a wide U.S. release.
Constantin also produced and distributed David Wnendt’s comedy “Look Who’s Back,” which has Adolf Hitler waking up in modern Germany and finally scoring a slot on a TV show. Based on the book of the same title, it sold 2.4 million tickets in Germany, for an around-$21.7 million gross, ranking No. 11 at the German box office last year. The film was a pioneering Netflix global acquisition from Germany.
Significantly, only one movie which could be called an independent title made Germany’s top 10 in 2015: Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” distributed by Studiocanal. That could be seen as evidence of the power of local hits, which, together with Hollywood tentpoles, are squeezing the space for independent titles in international markets.
Lending an international edge to Dagtekin’s local comedies, 2013’s “Suck Me Shakespeer” has sparked a Mexican remake, Spaniard Nacho G. Velilla’s “No Manches Frida,” produced by Constantin Film and Pantalion, a Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture.