Gemini may lose WB

With license pending, distribs vie for rights

PRAGUE — Czech and Slovak film distributor Gemini Film may be about to lose its license to handle Warner Bros. product. Sources tell Variety that Warners’ homevideo partner, headed by managing director Ladislav Stastny, is likely to benefit from such a occurrence.

Warner Home Video Czechoslovakia was the first homevideo company to enter the market here, beginning operations in 1991. Stastny’s company also handles MGM product.

Falcon Film, with partner offices in Prague and Bratislava, has been lobbying for the Warners license as well. Falcon now handles Columbia TriStar and Disney releases, the latter earning it a leading position on the Slovak market, where kid fare consistently lands in the top box office slots. The Warners contract would secure Falcon the top spot in both territories over main rival Bonton Film.

Deal all but done

A link-up between Warners’ theatrical and homevideo distribution would raise the profile of Stastny, who also serves as chairman of the Czech Anti-Piracy Assn. While Stastny declined to speculate on the Warners decision, word is that the deal is all but done. Indeed, inside sources say Stastny turned down a position with Czech entertainment conglomerate Bonton in hopes of gaining Warners’ theatrical distrib license.

The contract with Gemini, said to expire at the end of the year, carries a two-month notice clause, and an announcement of a new partner could come in September.

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