German Comedies Make Up for 'Mortal Instruments' at Constantin

Screen Gems
'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'

Local-language hits helped Constantin post double-digit growth in its film segment last year.

German comedies have long been a bread-and-butter business for Constantin Medien, the group that controls producer/distributor Constantin Film. And so it was again in 2014, with Constantin's German laffers helping to boost film revenue to $324 million (€295.6 million), a 10.2 percent year-on-year jump.

The phenomenally successful schooldays comedy Suck Me Shakespeer, released in 2013, continued to deliver for Constantin last year. The film, directed by Bora Dagtekin and starring Elyas M'Barek, has grossed around $60 million in its German run. 

Other home-grown hits from Constantin include the Macho comedy Mannerhort, also featuring M'Barek, which has earned around $10 million in theatrical release here, and the third entry in Constantin's kids franchise Five Friends ($7.5 million gross).

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Constantin's biggest international release, grossed a disappointing $31 million in the U.S. but international returns helped redeem the YA fantasy for Constantin, with a global gross approaching $100 million.

Stronger performances in Constantin's TV and home entertainment operations also contributed to overall earnings in the company's film division, which saw earnings nearly double last year to $10 million (€9.1 million).

Constantin also posted slightly stronger figures in its sports and sports event management operations. Overall, revenues at Constantin Medien were 6.4 percent up year-on-year, at $534 million (€487.8 million). The loss attributable to Constantin shareholders was $3.6 million (€3.3 million), down sharply from the €11 million loss in 2013.

Constantin Medien CEO Bernhard Burgener said he regarded progress made in 2014 “only as further intermediate step for Constantin Medien’s course toward stable positive figures.” Burgener added that the company would focus on cutting costs by streamlining its corporate structure. 

Constantin took its first move in that direction this week, reshuffling its management team to create a three-member board.

In addition to CEO Burgener, Hanns Besse, formerly CFO of Constantin Film, will take over the CFO position of the entire group, replacing Antonio Arrigoni. The third member of the board, Fred Kogel, will have responsibility for Constantin's business operations, from film and TV through sports production and human resources.

Constantin has also set up a second-tier executive committee consisting of the three management board members, Constantin film and TV head Martin Moszkowicz, Martin Wagner of the group's sports marketing division TEAM AG, and Olaf Schroder of Sport1, the Constantin-controlled all-sports broadcast network.

Constantin hopes the new corporate structure will make the group more flexible and efficient and quicker to react to changes within