Milchan’s reps deny ‘Degrees’ allegations

Legal reps for producer Arnon Milchan’s companies were quick to respond late Thursday to the suit MGM slapped on them Wednesday, vowing to defend themselves and fight for a resolution of the multipic co-financing and distrib deal they claim exists with the studio.

“There’s no question that Regency will answer and cross complain against MGM for MGM’s breach of its agreement with Regency,” said Scott P. Cooper, an attorney from Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, the firm retained by the Milchan companies in this case. He did not specify when this would happen.

L.A. court to decide

The MGM suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday, alleges breach of contract, bad faith denial of the existence of a contract, and fraud. The defendants named include Embassy Intl. Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Meespierson Trust, Caribbean Management Co., Monarch Enterprises and New Regency Prods.

MGM claims that Milchan reneged on a separate $ 8 million overseas distrib deal for the pic “Six Degrees of Separation.” The Milchan side contends that “Six” was merely one in a string of projects it would co-finance and roll out with the studio — a deal they say MGM has not honored.

The fate of “Six” in overseas territories was still in question Thursday as neither side was able precisely to identify ownership of those distrib rights. In the suit, MGM claimed Regency had already begun distribution in some overseas territories, a claim vigorously disputed by Regency reps.

Overseas up in the air

MGM’s legal counsel, Pierce O’Donnell from Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, said it is “a big question mark what is going to happen on overseas distribution of this film.”

Since it is unclear whether either side will attempt to settle the suit amicably before it goes into legal arbitration, foreign auds will have to sit this one out for the time being.

Meanwhile, MGM announced Thursday that the domestic rollout of “Six” would go wide on Jan. 21, spreading from its current 10-city release to another 25 for a total of 102 screens, including Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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