Beleaguered German mini-studio Kinowelt Medien has finally found a TV home for the Wachowski brothers' Warner Bros. action blockbuster The Matrix.
The title is among 15 German free-TV premieres - including the animation feature Pokemon - The Film and Amos Kollek's Fast Food, Fast Women - sold as part of a 40-film package by Kinowelt to German public broadcaster ZDF (which had bought 21 films - including 19 Warner titles - from Kinowelt last November).
The stock market responded positively as shares in the company soared by 9.41% by 07.18 GMT. However, these early gains were reversed after CEO Michael Koelmel told the company's annual general meeting today (June 18) that the company could not rule out early restructuring charges. By 1300 GMT, Kinowelt shares were up 0.29% at Euros3.41, after earlier rising to Euros3.88 prior to the costs warning. The Neuer Markt Nemax 50 index was down 1.08%.
The package comprised free-TV premieres and library titles from both Kinowelt's controversial $247m (DM560m) Warner Bros deal, as well as its (Kinowelt's) other film holdings. The films acquired by ZDF range from such Warner library titles as Billy Wilder comedy Buddy, Buddy, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and the Burt Lancaster action classic The Crimson Pirate, through the award-winning Cuban film Strawberries And Chocolate to Leos Carax's Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf and the Marcel Carne classic Les Enfants Du Paradis.
Kinowelt and ZDF did not divulge any figures for the package's price tag, but Merck Finck analyst Alexander Kachler had indicated at the end of the May in an assessment of Kinowelt's 2001 first quarter results that a film deal was pending with a German broadcaster in the "double digit million DM area". Industry sources suggest that the deal was worth $18m (DM40m).
In addition, further revenues are expected from licence trading operations in the second or third quarters, as Kinowelt has announced that it is in negotiations with other TV channels on the acquisition of packages of titles drawn from the Warner and Kinowelt libraries.
Meanwhile, the business journal mainnvestor reported this weekend that the Ettlingen-based internet service provider e.multi Digitale Dienste is allegedly in negotiations with "strategic partners" for one of them to take over the 30% interest currently held by Kinowelt. The company's first quarter financial result had been burdened by, among other things, the depreciation in book value of e.multi.