Constantin Film

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Constantin Film AG
IndustryFilm production
FoundedFrankfurt, Germany (April 1, 1950)
FounderWaldfried Barthel
Preben Philipsen
Key people
Martin Moszkowicz
Bernd Eichinger (†2011)
Fred Kogel
Revenue214,91 Mio. € (2010)
OwnerHighlight Communications (FWBHLG)
Number of employees
422 (December 2010)

Constantin Film AG is a German film production and film distribution company, based in Munich, Germany.

Early Constantin[edit]

Constantin was created in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1933. It was named for the father of one of the founders, Preben Philipsen. On April 1, 1950, Constantin was created in West Germany by Philipsen and Waldfried Barthel, who would later become the head of publicity for the company. The German Constantin originally was the country's national distributor of films produced by Columbia Pictures and United Artists. Throughout the 1950s, Constantin distributed both popular and art-house films from several nations as well as medium-budgeted domestic films.

Constantin's popularity grew through the late 1950s to the 1960s by not only distributing popular films but creating its own in-house talent roster of contract players (Joachim Fuchsberger, Heinz Drache), directors and producers (Wolf C. Hartwig), as well as co-financing international co-production films shot in Italy, such as the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, the films of Harry Alan Towers and others using their own stable of stars. Constantin also had great success with their Jerry Cotton film series[1] though projected film series of Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Maigret and Perry Rhodan only had one entry.

In 1965, Bertelsmann Publishing became the majority shareholder of Constantin. They attempted to increase output without increasing investment that resulted in the demise of many of the studio's popular film series, investment in sex films, and a stronger emphasis on releasing films from other nations rather than shooting their own. Bertelsmann sold its shares in 1969.[2]

List of films produced by Constantin Film[edit]

New Constantin[edit]

Founded by Bernd Eichinger as Neue Constantin Film in 1977, Constantin Film developed into the first German film distributor with its own production company in just six years, with production activities extending to the international market. In 1986, the Kirch Group (at the time Europe's biggest film and TV licence traders) acquired a minority stake in Neue Constantin Film.

In the following years, Constantin Film fixed its position on the international movie market by establishing various production subsidiaries across Europe in 1996. At the end of the nineties, Constantin Film acquired majority stakes in the film production companies Olga Film GmbH, Engram Pictures and MOOVIE GmbH. In September 1999 the company then went public on the German stock market as Constantin Film AG. Deutsche Börse placed the Constantin Film share on the selection index Nemax 50 in March 2000.

Constantin Film AG founded Rat Pack Filmproduktion GmbH over the next few years with producer Christian Becker and his team. The Swiss Highlight Communications AG (a strategy and finance holding with the operative segments of film and sports and event marketing) acquired 23 percent of the capital stock of Constantin Film AG from Kirch Beteiligungs GmbH und Co. KG and from diversified holdings for the first time in 2002. In 2003, the board of Constantin Film AG embarked on a new strategic path for the company: the traditional business areas of production and distribution were expanded to include the three areas of licence trading, home entertainment exploitation and increased TV service production (especially TV entertainment). Constantin Film AG also acquired 61 percent of the shares in KirchMedia Entertainment GmbH (now renamed Constantin Entertainment GmbH), one of the market leaders in German show and entertainment production. The stake was increased to 100 percent in 2005.

At the end of 2009, the listing of Constantin Film AG expired; all the shares were transferred to Highlight Communications after a squeeze-out. Constantin Film AG, as part of Highlight Communications AG, now belongs to the media group Constantin Medien AG, which emerged from the former EM. Sport Medien AG and has had its new name since the beginning of 2009. The company encompasses the four business areas of sports (Sport1, LIGA total!,, Plazamedia and Creation Club), film (Constantin Film, Constantin Entertainment and Rainbow Home Entertainment), sports and event marketing (Team Holding AG) and other (holding activities).


The most successful licence titles and internal or co-productions in Germany include (in terms of numbers of viewers) The Never Ending Story (approx. 5 million), The Name of the Rose (5.9 million), Das Geisterhaus (nearly 4 million), Dances With Wolves (nearly 6.8 million), Seven (more than 2.8 million), The Sixth Sense (more than 4 million), Maybe... Maybe Not (more than 6.6 million), Werner – Beinhart! (more than 4.9 million), Rossini (more than 3.2 million), Ballermann 6 (more than 2.4 million), Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar (nearly 3.6 million), Werner – Volles Rooäää!!! (nearly 2.8 million), American Pie (more than 6 million viewers, the biggest film of 2000), Downfall (more than 4.6 million viewers. Oscar®-nominated), Perfume - The Story of a Murderer (nearly 5.6 million), The Baader-Meinhof Complex (more than 2.4 million), Manitou's Shoe (the most successful German film ever with more than 11.7 million viewers), Dreamship Surprise – Period 1 (9 million), Lissi and the Wild Emperor (more than 2.2 million), Vicky the Viking (nearly 5 million), Nowhere in Africa (1.66 million viewers. Oscar® winner for "Best Foreign Language Film" in 2003), The Wave (more than 2.5 Mio), Hui Buh (more than 2 million), The White Massai (more than 2.2. million), Männersache (1.8 million), Horst Schlämmer – Isch kandidiere! (1.35 million), Maria, He Doesn't Like It (1.3 million), Pope Joan (2.3 million), The Flying Classroom (more than 1.9 million), Bibi Blocksberg (more than 2.2 million), the Wild Chicks series (3.2 million), Girls on Top (nearly 1.8 million), Türkisch für Anfänger (2.4 million), Suck me Shakespeer (7.3 million) and the international self-production Resident Evil (3.6 million viewers), which developed into a successful international franchise.

After the success of Türkisch für Anfänger in 2012 (nearly 2.4 million visitors), the Constantin subsidiary Rat Pack Filmproduktion GmbH, together with the director and author Bora Dagtekin and producer Lena Schömann and their team, landed the biggest German hit of 2013: the school comedy Suck me Shakespeer, starring Elyas M’Barek and Karoline Herfurth.

Successful films of 2014 include the third part of the popular Famous Five series, The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, the Bavarian crime comedy Winterkartoffelknödel based on the novel by Rita Falk, and the romantic comedy Love, Rosie by director Christian Ditter [de], based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern.

In 2015, the company co-produced the Fantastic Four reboot, the third film of the franchise. Slated later in the year is the sequel to Bora Dagtekin's cult comedy Suck me Shakespeer and the film adaptation of the best-selling satire Er ist wieder da, directed by David Wnendt.

List of films produced by Constantin Film Production GmbH[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ pp. 82-87 Bergfelder, Tim International Adventures: German Popular cinema and European Co-Productions in the 1960s Berghahn Books 2005
  2. ^ pp. 86-87 Bergfelder, Tim International Adventures: German Popular cinema and European Co-Productions in the 1960s Berghahn Books 2005