Magazine article Variety

'Das Boot' Sets Course for Overseas Success

Magazine article Variety

'Das Boot' Sets Course for Overseas Success

Article excerpt

CASE STUDY

'DAS BOOT' SETS COURSE FOR OVERSEAS SUCCESS

Bavaria Fiction wanted its small-screen series to satisfy the binge-watching urge

When Bavaria Fiction executive producer Moritz Polter looks out at the company's backlot from his office window, he can see the original sets built for "Das Boot," the classic 1981 movie set in the belly of a German U-boat that's been recently rebooted with stellar results.

The Oscar-nominated anti-war pic, directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Lothar-Gunther Buchheim's autobiographical bestsellers, was the most expensive feature film to come out of postwar Germany at the time; now "Das Boot" has undergone a major refit and resurfaced as one of the country's most expensive TV shows and a ratings hit wherever it has aired.

Budgeted at roughly $32 million, and shot over 105 days in Munich, La Rochelle, Prague and Malta, the eight-episode series directed by Andreas Prochaska stems from brainstorming among Bavaria Fiction (a subsidiary of Bavaria Film and ZDF Enterprises), paybox Sky Deutschland and Sonar Entertainment, which has sold it to more than 100 territories.

The "Das Boot" reboot effort "all began with discussions about what we wanted to do, meaning: Do we do a remake? Do we do a sequel? Do we do eight parts?, six, 10?... Do we do a movie at the same time?," Polter says.

It was decided to make it a sequel of sorts. But when they sat down with writers Johannes W. Betz and Tony Saint, "we very quickly realized that actually doing a real sequel would probably also be fairly problematic, given where the story of 'Das Boot' ends, meaning pretty much everyone being dead," he says. …

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