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Franchise Pictures LLC
Fate Bankrupt
Founded 1998
Defunct 2005
Key people Elie Samaha
Andrew Stevens
Industry Independent film studio
Parent Warner Bros.
Subsidiaries Franchise Interactive

Franchise Pictures LLC was an independent motion picture production and distribution company founded by Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens. They were known for their production in the action film genre. The company also had a short-lived trend of its video game arm, Franchise Interactive.

Contents

Films

Films produced by Franchise included:

Bankruptcy

Following the failure of Battlefield Earth and other films independently produced by Franchise Pictures, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was probing "the question of whether some independent motion picture companies have vastly inflated the budget of films in an effort to scam investors".[1] In December 2000 the German-based Intertainment AG filed a lawsuit alleging that Franchise Pictures had fraudulently inflated budgets in films including Battlefield Earth, which Intertainment had helped to finance.[2] Intertainment had agreed to pay 47% of the production costs of several films in exchange for European distribution rights, but ended up paying for between 60–90% of the costs instead. The company alleged that Franchise had defrauded it to the tune of over $75 million by systematically submitting "grossly fraudulent and inflated budgets".[3]

The case was heard before a jury in a Los Angeles federal courtroom in May–June 2004. The court heard testimony from Intertainment that according to Franchise's bank records the real cost of Battlefield Earth was only $44 million, not the $75 million declared by Franchise. The remaining $31 million had been fraudulent "padding". Intertainment's head Barry Baeres told the court that he had only funded Battlefield Earth because it was packaged as a slate that included two more commercially attractive films, the Wesley Snipes vehicle The Art of War and the Bruce Willis comedy The Whole Nine Yards. Baeres testified that "Mr. Samaha said, 'If you want the other two pictures, you have to take Battlefield Earth — it's called packaging'". Baeres commented: "We would have been quite happy if he had killed Battlefield Earth".[4]

Intertainment won the case and was awarded $121.7 million in damages, bankrupting Franchise Pictures. Samaha himself was declared by the court to be personally liable for $77 million in damages.[5] However, the jury rejected Intertainment's claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, which would have trebled the damages if Franchise had been convicted on that charge.[6]

Franchise Pictures LLC and its subsidiaries filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions on August 19, 2004.[7]

References

  1. ^ Staff (2002-06-06). "FBI Probes Big Indie Budgets". Internet Movie Database: pp. StudioBriefing. http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2002-06-06#film5. Retrieved 2008-01-20.  
  2. ^ Randall, Laura (2000-12-22). "Franchise, Intertainment duel; Countersuits ask $75 million-plus each in film licensing dispute". Hollywood Reporter.  
  3. ^ Staff (2001-01-19). "$75M Battlefield Over Film Flops". New York Post.  
  4. ^ Hiestand, Jesse (2004-05-10). "Baeres: No secret budget deal". Hollywood Reporter.  
  5. ^ Shprintz, Janet (2004-06-21). "Attempt to Collect". Variety.  
  6. ^ Shprintz, Janet (2004-06-17). "Samaha Slammed". Variety.  
  7. ^ "The Hollywood Reporter". login.vnuemedia.com. http://login.vnuemedia.com/hr/google/login_subscribe.jsp?id=JwgPPVfVmcksd4TtPuM3gvMrl1huoS1nJ4qTreE05OAdpDivsAnla71rya3Gr4u6Ap0VmLWJ4CKM%0Ax65%2FUfZp3Am11BQBC6B6WcwWyYY2m%2FJndriGhs4VPmR2Rc5V00nS77qvWJVhfZb7KRd8eWgBI62V%0AQWifMHPBqqcU7e6dNrjh9Wvs53GVqZPZ1Lumg2WyOXN7d2Nl2RHjXcT%2BAdWctghEUhnyhdQfBHMn%0AoKuLuPE%3D. Retrieved 2008-01-04.  

External links

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