'Pompeii' Boosts Constantin Sales But Losses Mount in First Quarter


Write downs on film assets, including 3D animated misfire "Tarzan," weigh on results at the German media group.

Germany's Constantin Media Group ended the first quarter of 2014 with a $6.8 million (€5 million) loss, as disappointing returns from high-profile flop Pompeii and 3D animated feature Tarzan pulled down results.

Sales, driven by licensing revenue for Pompeii (which was presold around the world), were up 31.2 percent in Q1 to $186 million (€136.1 million). But the overall picture was bleak.

Constantin CEO Bernhard Burgener, in a statement to investors, talked up the success of Constantin's local-language productions. German schooldays comedy Suck Me Shakespeer, for example, has earned some $72 million in local release, and Five Friends 3, the latest in a successful family franchise, has grossed around $10 million in Germany. 

STORY: 'Pompeii' Studio Says It Can Survive Disastrous U.S. Box Office


However, those successes are merely papering over the cracks of the company's international flops. Paul W.S. Anderson's Pompeii, starring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), grossed just $23 million in the U.S. and barely $100 million internationally, well below the company's expectations. Tarzan, a 3D animated feature with Twilight alum Kellan Lutz voicing the legendary lord of the jungle, has also underperformed, with a $26 million worldwide gross so far.

Constantin won't be able to count on a lucrative one-off boost from the sale of its TV sports production division Plazamedia to 21st Century Fox's German pay-TV group Sky Deutschland. The sale, which would have also seen Sky acquire minority stakes in Constantin's sports channel Sport1 and its sports marketing division, was called off earlier this week. 

Constantin now expects to book losses between $18 million and $20 million (between €13 million and €15 million) for the full year on sales of $628 million to $682 million (€460 million to €500 million).