Fox, Carolco Part Ways On ‘Hood’

Twentieth Century Fox Intl. will distribute directly its $15 million feature “The Adventures Of Robin Hood” in overseas theatrical markets, after its arrangement with Carolco Pictures to handle all foreign rights on the film fell apart over financial terms.

Fox will internationally release the film – directed by John Irvin and toplining Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman – first in Japan in mid-April, followed by a May release in England and the rest of the world, including all of Europe, in June.

The overseas theatrical debut of “Robin Hood” will beat to the punch the domestic release of Morgan Creek Prods./Warner Bros.’ competing Kevin Costner-starrer, “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.” That film, directed by Kevin Reynolds, is targeted to bow Stateside this June through Warners, with a possibility of going Memorial Day Weekend.

Fox’ “Robin Hood,” which was originally intended to be released worldwide as a theatrical feature to be directed by John McTiernan before “Prince Of Thieves” edged it out, will be aired as a three-hour telepic on Fox Broadcasting Co.’s “Fox Night At The Movies” on May 13.

Officials from Fox and Carolco confirmed that their agreement for Carolco to sell foreign rights was officially off but declined to divulge the reason. Sources said the two parties could not agree on financial terms.

However, at last year’s Mifed film market in Milan, Carolco’s international wing commenced presales on the film going on the assumption that it would finalize the deal with Fox.

Consequently, Carolco had to or will have to go back to territorial distributors who licensed the picture and call off those deals. No money reportedly exchanged hands.

‘Prince’ pricetag under $50 mil

In originally approaching Carolco chairman Mario Kassar about handling the picture overseas, Fox presumably thought it could generate more revenues than through its own foreign releasing arm.

Earlier last week, Morgan Creek topper James Robinson disputed widespread reports that “Prince Of Thieves” cost more than $60 million to produce, maintaining the film will come in for just under $50 million.

Robinson said actual cash spent thus far on “Prince Of Thieves” is $40 million, excluding interest, overhead and a producers’ fee for Morgan Creek.

“We’ll probably spend another $5 million to $8 million for postproduction, so with interest and fees we’ll spend less than $50 million – probably around $48 million,” he said.

Morgan Creek Intl., headed by Gary Barber, has been successfully licensing its Robin Hood film – which wrapped production in early January and is currently in postproduction – to territorial distributors in overseas markets.

Barber estimated that no less than $20 million will be spent to open “Robin Hood” domestically this summer.

While Robinson declined to comment on what Warners’ overall investment in the film is, sources said the distributor advanced Morgan Creek $14.5 million against receipts.

Robinson acknowledged that the film went two weeks over schedule, but he said the additional time required the services of only two key players, Costner and Morgan Freeman.

Costner reportedly was paid $7.5 million. Reynolds, who made his directorial debut with Warners’ 1985 feature “Fandango” (featuring Costner in his first starring role), reportedly was paid under $2 million, but Robinson refused to discuss their fees.

The production, lensed in England and France, required construction of a town square at London’s Shepperton Studios.

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