Pix out for count

Constantin cuts forecast, delays 9 releases

Teutonic producer Constantin Film Thursday cut its earnings target for this year and postponed the release of nine pics, including two Touchstone Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment co-productions, “The Count of Monte Cristo” and the snowboarding tale “OutCOLD,” as well as Miramax’s “Impostor,” until 2002.

The films will be delayed “because of restrictions on availability and postponements of U.S. release dates” and “an excessively large supply” of films since September, the company said in a statement to the German stock exchange newswire. Delay won’t affect the sales it expects to make from the films, Constantin said.

“Count,” which stars Jim Caviezel, had been slated to unspool Oct. 19; it’s now targeted for release in February. “OutCOLD,” anticipated as a December release, is due out in early 2002.

The Gary Fleder-helmed “Impostor,” which stars Gary Sinise, has seen its release dates shift four times since its original target of Oct. 6, 2000. Miramax currently counts the title as an undated 2002 release.

Constantin earnings before interest and taxes, excluding a charge from new accounting standards, will be between 2 million euros ($1.8 million) and $4.5 million, less than the $8 million previously expected, the company said.

Board member Thomas Friedl last week said Constantin was on track to reach its third-quarter targets, though release of some films may be delayed. Business was “very positive” in the third quarter, the company said Thursday, without being specific.

Earnings for 2001 will be based on U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, Constantin said. According to the new rules, the company will take a one-time depreciation charge of “up to a maximum of” $31 million, it said. The charge will have “no impact” on its valuation, the company added.

(Bloomberg News Service contributed to this report.)

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