Less than 24 hours before Kinowelt's deadline (on November 28) to persuade ABN Amro Bank to retract its plan to call in loans totalling around $63.2m (DM 140m), what may be the final nail has been hammered into the beleaguered German company's coffin with the news that the 1999 film package deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution has been terminated.

In summer 1999, Kinowelt had attempted to enter into the large-scale license trading arena, competing with Leo Kirch and Herbert Kloiber by acquiring a $252.7m (DM 560m) package including 70 feature films made between 1996-1999, 120 blockbusters and cinema classics, 85 TV films and 600 series episodes for the period between 1999 and 2002.

The rights for the films have now reverted to Warner Bros., and the transaction will appear in Kinowelt's accounts for the third quarter as an extraordinary expense of $114.7m (Euros 130m).

In an official statement, Kinowelt declared that the deal signed in June with German public broadcaster ZDF for a number of films, including those from the Warner Bros. package, could not now be honoured in its current form following the termination of Kinowelt's agreement with Warner Bros.