Germany's Constantin Media Results Slump as 'Mortal Instruments,' 'Enders Game' Disappoint

Constantin's 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" failed at the box office.
Constantin's 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" failed at the box office.
 Screen Gems

German mini-major Constantin Media had a rough year.

The combination of costly, underperforming acquisitions -- including Enders GameWalking With Dinosaurs and the major in-house flop The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which Constantin produced -- together with problems at its sports division resulted in a $8.4 million (€6.1 million) loss for the Munich-based group last year. Revenue for 2013 plunged 12 percent to $632 million (€458.3 million).

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Profits at Constantin's film division fell nearly 50 percent to $6.5 million (€4.7 million) and would have been much worse if not for the blockbuster success of Constantin's German-language comedy Suck Me Shakespeer, which has earned more than $70 million in theatrical release here, more than double the German box office of all of Constantin's U.S. titles combined.

Constantin could be in for an ever rougher ride this year. Paul W.S. Anderson's big-budget disaster movie Pompeii, which Constantin fully financed and produced, has been buried at the box office both in Germany and internationally, earning just $3.5 million in Germany and less than $90 million worldwide, although several major territories are still to come. Another of Constantin's high-profile in-house productions, a 3D animated take on Tarzan featuring the voices of Kellan Lutz and Spencer Locke, earned just $2.1 million in its German release. 

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It was more bad news at Constantin's sports division. The group's sports marketing operation, TEAM, saw revenue fall by more than a third, largely due to changes to TEAM's rights to market matches in top European club soccer tournament the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Constantin's sports production operations took a hit when its German soccer channel Liga Total, which was carried by German cable group Deutsche Telekom, was canceled last year.

"2013 was a difficult year for Constantin Medien in which our economic targets were not reached and sales and earnings performance were below our expectations," said Constantin Medien CEO Bernhard Burgener. He said the company would be doubling down on its sports business as it aims to expand its Sport1 brand -- which operates a free-TV channel, sports radio and online offerings.

"The growing fragmentation of programs in the digital age opens up new sales channels for our Film Segment that we want to use," Burgener said.

But Constantin is already lowering expectations for 2013. The group is forecasting consolidated sales of between $580 million and $634 million (€420 million and €460 million) for the year and earnings attributable to shareholders of between $18 million and $20 million (€13 million and €15 million), compared to $15 million (€10.7 million) this year.

The earnings figure, however, will only be met thanks to the one-off effect of Constantin's sale, signed in December, of its production operation Plazamedia and a 25.1 percent stake in Sport1 and Constantin Sport Marketing to Sky Deutschland, the pay TV group controlled by 21st Century Fox. If for some reason the deal doesn't go through, Constantin warned it would probably book a double-digit loss for the year.

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