Munich-based licence trader Intertainment is renegotiating its pan-European output deal with Elie Samaha's LA-based Franchise Pictures, which is thought to have soured after resulting in a string of flops.
In a statement released Tuesday (December 19), Intertainment said that its subsidiary Intertainment Licensing had entered into negotiations with Franchise: "to clarify differences between the companies in their business relationship, which are also straining Intertainment Licensing GmbH's relationship with its sub-licensees'.with the goal of reorganising the business relationship with the Franchise Group".
Intertainment struck a three-year output deal with Franchise at Cannes last year, which was expected to secure all of Franchise's current and future slate, covering a minimum of 60 titles. After Cannes, Intertainment signed a five-year pan-European distribution deal with Warner Brothers for 60 titles of Intertainment's choice in addition to a ten-year distribution alliance with 20th Century Fox. Both deals covered theatrical, video and pay-TV rights, but Intertainment retains free TV rights to the slate.
John Travolta flop Battlefield Earth was one of the first films to come down the pipeline to Intertainment, along with other box office disappointments such as remake Get Carter and The Art Of War. Bruce Willis-starrer The Whole Nine Yards fared slightly better in European markets.
Under the terms of its deal, Intertainment was to contribute a significant portion of Franchise's budgets and has reportedly concluded that it paid too much. Earlier this year, the company passed on three Franchise titles - Michael Caton-Jones City By The Sea, Antonio Banderas-starrer Ecks vs. Sever and David Goyer's directorial debut Zigzag - which were subsequently picked up by rival pan-European distributor Epsilon.
Intertainment's deals with Warner and Fox also appear under pressure as the company has sometimes by-passed these arrangements to sell Franchise titles to independent distributors such as the UK's Redbus and France's Bac (ScreenDaily, Feb 28; April 25).