German Animation Group Trickcompany Is Insolvent

Boss Michael Schaak hopes bankruptcy will allow it to restructure with a focus on international productions.


COLOGNE, Germany -- Germany animation studio Trickcompany, the group behind the hit Werner cartoon franchise, has filed for insolvency protection.

The group's first two Werner films -- based on a hit German comic about a beer-drinking motorcycle rowdie -- were huge box office successes, selling nearly five million tickets each in the early 1990s. Trickcompany boss Michael Schaak produced two more Werner films together with Constantin Film.

Trickcompany's 2D hand-drawn animation, however, has been squeezed out by big budget 3D productions. The group's last feature – Dieter – The Film – didn't even get a theatrical release. A move into children's TV, with hit Bible-based series Chi-Rho, wasn't enough to keep the lights on.

Schaack said it has become impossible to refinance top-end animation solely from the German market. He said he hopes the bankruptcy will allow Trickcompany to restructure with a focus on international productions.

But Werner is carrying on regardless. Constantin said Trickcompany's collapse would not effect production on the fifth Werner film: Werner – Ice Cold, which is set to hit German theaters next year.