Germany's Constantin Film and LA-based production and management outfit Propaganda Films have announced that the first two pictures to be produced by their 50/50 production-distribution joint venture will be English-language remakes of hit German comedies - Der Bewegte Mann and Harte Jungs.
1994's Der Bewegte Mann remains Germany's all time local box office champion with a phenomenal $65m box office take, while recent smash Harte Jungs has already grossed $8m in its first six weeks on release. Both were produced and distributed by Constantin.
Der Bewegte Mann, the story of a straight man who moves in with a gay friend of his, was picked up for US release by Orion Classics under the title Maybe...Maybe Not. Propaganda and Constantin are currently deciding between that title or It's Not What You Think. Melanie Mayron, the TV actress on Thirtysomething who helmed The Babysitter's Club, is attached to direct.
Harte Jungs aka Just The Two Of Us revolves around a teenager's unusual sexual awakening. The film helped boost Constantin's local market share to over 30% in the German market this year.
The Propaganda joint venture is one of three recent alliances struck by newly public Constantin with production outfits. The others are an alliance with Jeremy Bolt and Paul Anderson's Anglo-US production group Impact Pictures and a first look deal with Key Films.
The Propaganda deal, said Constantin's LA chief Robert Kulzer yesterday, was the most collaborative creative union to date and will give the joint venture access to Propaganda's stable of directors such as Spike Jonze, Simon West, Mark Pellington and Dominic Sena as well as actors like Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey.
"There is no limit to the deal," said Propaganda president Rick Hess. "We can make as many films as we like or as many as the market will bear." Discussions are underway with a studio to take North and South American rights under a long-term relationship. In overseas territories, Constantin has a historic relationship with Patrick Wachsberger's Summit Entertainment but has not yet concluded how to handle sales of the Propaganda joint venture films. "We will explore output arrangements," said Constantin member of the board Thomas Peter Friedl.
Friedl said that Constantin wants to pursue further creative production opportunities but has no plans to move into pan-European distribution - maintaining a core focus on distribution in German-speaking Europe and film production.