Walt Disney Studios isbelieved to be the latest Hollywood major to tap a UK tax-based fund tounderwrite their distribution costs.
The studio is finalizing apact to licence about eight films to the Timeless Releasing scheme devised byUK tax financier Future Film in a deal understood to be worth up to £200m.
The fund was originally setup with Paramount Pictures, but that studio appears to have dropped out.
The Timeless Releasingscheme works under generally accepted accountancy principles (GAAP), the same mechanismas the First Choice and Inside Track funds which were dramatically frozen lastmonth when the government launched a clamp down.
But although Future declinedto comment for this article, the Timeless scheme is thought to be unaffected asit does not allow the studio to buy back its films. That means investors cannotmake an early exit, one of the problems cited by the Inland Revenue last month.
Timeless and Scion's similarGlobe scheme with US studio Universal is still attracting criticism from somein the UK film industry. One producer said that at least schemes such as FirstChoice and Inside Track backed UK productions, while the GAAP distributionschemes are proposing to use a large amount of their UK tax money to support USfilms.
In Timeless' case, onesource said that less than 50% of the films would be British. Proposed titlesare thought to include Disney's end-of-year tentpole King Arthur with UK stars CliveOwen, Keira Knightley and Ray Winstone as well as films from Disney subsidiaryMiramax such as Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol 2, and Zhang Yimou's Hero.
Neither Disney nor Miramaxwould comment for this story.