Germany's Constantin constant at No. 1

Remains nation’s top indie producer/distributor

COLOGNE, Germany -- In the increasingly lucrative business of German productions, Munich-based Constantin Film continues to reign supreme.

Constantin's in-house productions last year, including Uli Edel's Golden Globe- and BAFTA-nominated "The Baader Meinhof Complex" and Dennis Gansel's "The Wave," sold more than 8.4 million tickets in Germany, grossing nearly $70 million. The stats come from German distributor's association SPIO.

That puts Constantin in a league of its own in the German market. The group last year retained the territory's crown as the No. 1 producer and distributor.

Constantin hopes to keep its winning streak going with a 2009 slate that includes period dramas "Effi Briest" and "Pope Joan," international co-production "Pandorum," starring Dennis Quaid, and the latest installment of hit teen franchise "The Wild Chicks."

But with German-language titles taking an ever-growing share of the market -- many estimates expect 30% of Germany's boxoffice this year to go to local productions -- Constantin is getting more competition from the Hollywood majors.

Warner Bros. has been particularly active following its massive success releasing Til Schweiger's romantic comedy "Rabbit Without Ears." Warner plans to release at least eight German productions and co-productions this year, including a "Rabbit" sequel.