Mexican mess leads to new New Line deal

Gussi pact covers all upcoming pix

New Line Intl. has signed an output deal with leading Mexican indie distributor Gussi following the collapse of startup Districine. New Line had announced an alliance with the newly founded company at AFM.

New Line’s pics were previously handled by Televisa Cine, which has been managing the bookings, invoicing and physical distribution for all Warner Bros. product in Mexico. The deal with Gussi covers all New Line’s 2004 films including “The Notebook,” “Blade: Trinity” and “Son of the Mask.”

Districine partners Richard Ham and Eduardo Rossoff have provided conflicting versions of the breakup. Ham is threatening a lawsuit against Rossoff for unilaterally brokering a deal between Gussi and New Line without consulting him.

Rossoff says he did not broker the deal and that two of their four investors balked at the high costs involved and pulled out.

“In Mexico, you need to own 70% of a domain to sell it; Rossoff had 50%,” Ham said. “He blindsided me while I was in Chile,” he added. “It was a deal made in heaven for us, and we lost a fabulous opportunity. That’s what hurts most.”

According to Ham, Rossoff terminated the deal with New Line on Friday.

“A lot of companies think they have the financial backing and they don’t,” said Nestor Nieves, senior VP of New Line Intl. Releasing, who said they had been talking to “everyone” after the deal with Televisa Cine was not renewed.

“Investment is a dirty word in Mexico,” said Rossoff. Investors “saw the upside but also saw the potential for losses,” he added.

Gussi releases an average of 40 pics a year and has been pre-buying pics from a host of territories.

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