German director downsizing after latest bomb

Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:23pm EST

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FRANKFURT (Hollywood Reporter) - Uwe Boll, the German director the critics love to hate, will return to low-budget filmmaking now that his latest and biggest production, the $70 million fantasy epic "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale," bombed at the North American box office.

The adaptation of the hit video game, which stars Jason Statham, Ron Perlman and Burt Reynolds, delivered just $3 million during the weekend, marking the third flop in a row for Boll, after "BloodRayne" and "Alone in the Dark."

Reached at his home in the western city of Mainz, Boll said the results from "King" mean he will be unable to continue with big-budget productions.

"In the future, I will focus on small films such as (the video game adaptation) 'Postal' or (the Vietnam War drama) 'Tunnel Rats,"' he said. "These are films that represent my true passion, and they can be done with small budgets."

Despite a number of critical and commercial drubbings, Boll has been able to finance big-budget films through German tax shelter funds. But "King" marked the last film to be bankrolled by his fund, which, like all similar tax shelters, has been banned in Germany.

Boll will now have to finance films the old-fashioned way -- by pre-selling distribution rights on a country-by-country basis. Given the director's record, that could prove difficult. Despite being one of Germany's most prolific filmmakers, he is arguably most famous -- or infamous -- for the boxing match he staged with Internet critics of his movies.

"Because of the Boll reputation, it is not easy to get audiences into the cinemas," said Mychael Berg, head of distribution at Fox in Germany, which released "King" locally. "We finally managed it, and we are quite satisfied with the abut 250,000 people who watched the movie (in Germany). We proved that you can make money with a Boll film."

But Boll acknowledged that will not be enough to produce another $70 million film. Instead, the German director has lined up a decidedly pulpy title for his next adaptation -- the video game shoot 'em up "Zombie Massacre."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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