Film co. in legal tangle with Franchise Pix

BERLIN — German film group Intertainment posted a €4.5 million ($4.4 million) loss for the first nine months of 2002 compared with a profit of nearly the same amount in the period last year.

Revenue, which dropped 30% to $13.7 million, came from the continued earnings of pics acquired in 2000, including “The Art of War,” “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Battlefield Earth” as well as from merchandizing.

Intertainment, which released the figures Thursday, is currently bankrolling “Blackout,” its first project with Arnold Kopelson.

The once high-flying public company remains locked in a legal battle with former partner Franchise Pictures. Intertainment has taken Franchise to court over allegedly padding the budgets on a slate of films including “3000 Miles to Graceland,” “The Pledge” and “Whole Nine Yards,” defrauding the company out of at least $100 million.

Another former Neuer Markt star, Splendid Medien, posted a nine-month loss of $28 million compared with a profit of $700,000 last year. Revenue was down $1.5 million to $26 million, it said Friday.

The lion’s share of company’s sales was garnered from its licensing biz, while home entertainment accounted for about a quarter of revenues.

Splendid has revamped its evaluation and amortization practices to boost future earnings, lowering the value of its stake in fellow German film group Internationalmedia by $6.7 million and writing down the value of its film assets by $32 million.

Splendid, which is co-producing Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” sold its 49% stake in Initial Entertainment Group to Internationalmedia last year in a stock-and-cash transaction. Shares received originally valued at $19.50 each have since been devalued to 50¢.

At the start of 2002, company saw startup costs of $6 million from subsidiary Splendid Pictures.

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