Goldcrest In 3-picture Pact With Animator Rich Entertainment

Goldcrest Films & TV has signed a three-picture, $45 million pact with Rich Entertainment, the L.A.-based animation studio. The deal effectively terminates Goldcrest’s relationship with Irish studio Sullivan-Bluth, which has made two animated features for Goldcrest under a similar three-picture deal.

Rich Entertainment is headed by Richard Rich, director of “The Fox And The Hound” and “The Black Cauldron.” First of the Goldcrest pics to go before the cameras will be “Rabbit Hill,” based on a series of children’s books by Robert Lawson. Pic is set for delivery at Christmas 1992. Other pics are “The Three Musketeers” and “Swan Lake.” The trio is to be made over a five-year period.

The deal with Rich underlines Goldcrest’s continuing interest in animation. Company topper John Quested places great store in the strength of animated product in the sell-through market. Sullivan-Bluth’s “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” which was 100% financed by Goldcrest, sold 4.2 million cassettes in U.S. sell-through despite a relatively poor showing in theaters.

The breakup of Goldcrest’s relationship with Sullivan-Bluth follows a winding-up petition filed last month in the Dublin High Court by Goldcrest, which claimed that Sullivan-Bluth had failed to honor a debt of £350,000 ($616,000).

At the court hearing, held April 15, Sullivan-Bluth, headed by former Disney animator Don Bluth, agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to Goldcrest, and the winding-up petition was dropped. Failure to agree could have led to closure of the Dublin studio and loss of 350 jobs.

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