Studio Babelsberg Confirms $9.2 Million Loss for 2012

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Babelsberg is counting on big shoots including George Clooney's 'Monuments Men' have helped revive its fortunes this year.

The German studio is counting on big productions such as George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" to revive revenues.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Germany's Studio Babelsberg confirmed year-end figures that show overall revenues plunged last year, falling from $56.3 million (€43.9 million) in 2011 just $11.6 million (€9 million) in 2012.

With no big-budget shoot to match the likes of the fantasy epic Cloud Atlas, Babelsberg booked a net loss of $9.2 million (€7.2 million), after a slim net profit a year earlier. Babelsberg has just one international feature -- Christophe Gans' Beauty and The Beast starring Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel -- shoot on its famous backlot last year.

2013 is already shaping up to be a stronger year. Four international features — George Clooney's The Monuments Men, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, Brian Percival's The Book Thief and The Voices from Persepolis helmer Marjane Satrapi — shot at Babelsberg in the first half of the year. The studio said it is currently in talks on a number of further shoots and expects annual revenue to be up sharply this year.

Babelsberg's bottom line took a hit earlier this year after the company's board devalued the loan of its subsidiary Babelsberg Motion Pictures International to Silver Slate, the revolving production fund Babelsberg set up to co-finance films produced by Joel Silver's Dark Castle shingle, by $6.4 million (€5 million).

The slate was set up as a revolving production fund by which Babelsberg would co-finance Dark Castle titles in exchange for the films shooting at the German studio and Babelsberg getting a piece of the backend. 

While the cooperation has delivered a number of titles, including Liam Neeson-starrer Unknown (2011) and Todd Lincoln's horror thriller Apparition (2012), the output was well below initial forecasts of two films a year and a total of 15 features for the entire slate. Studio Babelsberg has now fully written off its stake in the film package, saying the $3.4 million (€2.6 million) it has received in backend payments from the agreement so far make it unlikely that it will be able to repay the loan before it comes due in 2020.