Constantin swims with Little Shark


BERLIN -- German indie production giant Constantin Film has signed a three-year, first-look deal with Cologne-based production house Little Shark Entertainment, the group behind last year's documentary blockbuster "Germany. A Summer Fairytale."

The soccer documentary, directed by Little Shark co-head Soenke Wortmann, sold 4 million tickets in Germany for a $33 million boxoffice gross, making it the most successful documentary ever in the territory. To compare, the hit "March of the Penguins" sold "just" 1.5 million tickets in Germany.

Wortmann and Little Shark co-head Tom Spiess also have produced a number of local hits including stoner comedy "Lammbock," historic drama "The Miracle of Bern" and children's adventure film "The Treasure of the White Falcon."

For Wortmann, the Constantin deal marks a return of sorts. Constantin produced and released several of Wortmann's biggest hits during the 1990s including the comedies "Maybe, Maybe Not," "The Superwife" and "Campus."

Wortmann said Constantin was "exactly the right partner at exactly the right time," for Little Shark.

"We're very excited to be working with Little Shark," said Constantin production head Martin Moszkowicz. "I think that, after a very successful cooperation with Soenke Wortmann in the '90s, we have found, together with Tom Spiess, two very competent business partners."

The deal will see Constantin and Little Shark co-develop, produce and distribute feature films for the German market.

In addition to its own in-house production company and U.K. subsidiary Impact Pictures, Constantin controls or holds stakes in several smaller German production houses including Olga Film, MOOVIE, Rat Pack Filmproduktion and Westside Filmproduktion.