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COLOGNE, Germany — Germany’s Studio Babelsberg confirmed year-end figures that show overall revenues plunged last year, falling from $56.3 million (€43.9 million) in 2011 just $11.6 million (€9 million) in 2012.
With no big-budget shoot to match the likes of the fantasy epic Cloud Atlas, Babelsberg booked a net loss of $9.2 million (€7.2 million), after a slim net profit a year earlier. Babelsberg has just one international feature — Christophe Gans‘ Beauty and The Beast starring Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel — shoot on its famous backlot last year.
2013 is already shaping up to be a stronger year. Four international features — George Clooney‘s The Monuments Men, Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Brian Percival‘s The Book Thief and The Voices from Persepolis helmer Marjane Satrapi — shot at Babelsberg in the first half of the year. The studio said it is currently in talks on a number of further shoots and expects annual revenue to be up sharply this year.
Babelsberg’s bottom line took a hit earlier this year after the company’s board devalued the loan of its subsidiary Babelsberg Motion Pictures International to Silver Slate, the revolving production fund Babelsberg set up to co-finance films produced by Joel Silver‘s Dark Castle shingle, by $6.4 million (€5 million).
The slate was set up as a revolving production fund by which Babelsberg would co-finance Dark Castle titles in exchange for the films shooting at the German studio and Babelsberg getting a piece of the backend.
While the cooperation has delivered a number of titles, including Liam Neeson-starrer Unknown (2011) and Todd Lincoln‘s horror thriller Apparition (2012), the output was well below initial forecasts of two films a year and a total of 15 features for the entire slate. Studio Babelsberg has now fully written off its stake in the film package, saying the $3.4 million (€2.6 million) it has received in backend payments from the agreement so far make it unlikely that it will be able to repay the loan before it comes due in 2020.
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