Previous Franchise head resolves case for unspecified amount

A correction was made to this article on April 20, 2004.

Former Franchise prexy Andrew Stevens settled with German distributor Intertainment on Monday, a day before Intertainment’s lawsuit against Franchise goes to trial in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif.

Intertainment announced that Stevens settled for an undisclosed amount. Stevens’ attorney Richard Schirtzer said, “For a man of Mr. Stevens’ stature in the industry, the settlement was a de minimis amount, and one of the main motivating factors was not to disrupt his busy production schedule with having to attend a trial scheduled to stretch out over two months in Orange County.”

Stevens was sued personally by Intertainment when the case was filed in 2000, as was Franchise chairman Elie Samaha. The case against Samaha and Franchise will proceed.

Stevens teamed with Samaha in 1997 to launch Franchise, where the two produced more than 60 films together. Stevens exited Franchise in 2002 to start up his own production company, Andrew Stevens Entertainment.

Inflated budgets

Intertainment alleges in its lawsuit that Franchise bilked it to the tune of $100 million by artificially inflating and distorting the budgets of pics including “Get Carter,” “Battlefield Earth,” “3000 Miles to Graceland,” “The Art of War” and 2000’s “The Whole Nine Yards,” Franchise’s biggest hit with more than $100 million in worldwide box office.

Franchise’s defense is expected to be that Intertainment CEO Barry Baeres was a willing participant in the budget fraud as he was eager to get Franchise’s movies because they featured A-level stars at below-studio prices.

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