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Cecchi chain off auction block

Sale to take place May 22 if settlement not reached

A Rome court halted Monday’s auction of seven of Italian movie mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori’s theaters, giving him time to settle debts incurred by his Cecchi Gori Group.

The sale will take place May 22 if a settlement is not reached out of court, Italo news agency ANSA reported.

Calls to Cecchi Gori Group in Rome were not returned.

Last month the group said it was “confident it would find a solution,” having entered negotiations with the creditor — an unidentified real-estate company.

The group has been awash in red ink since the mid-1990s, when it branched out from film into television and acquired the A.C. Fiorentina soccer club.

While it is no longer active in TV or sports, debts have continued to mount.

The seven sites on the block included the Cinema Adriano, a state-of-the-art 10-screener near the Vatican, which had a starting price of E10 million ($12 million).

Once a dominant market player, Cecchi Gori — which owns the Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Cinema in Los Angeles — has produced four pictures over the past few years, including this year’s “Il ritorno del monnezza” (The Return of the Garbage Man), a remake of a local 1970s cult pic, which performed moderately well.

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