Studio in legal dispute with Gemini

Fox is in a legal dispute with its sometime Russian partner Gemini Film Intl. over nonpayment of box office revenues.

The case was lodged in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Feb. 19, but news of it is just emerging.

Neither side will comment. However, Russian business daily Kommersant reports that GFI, co-owned by Russian businessman Michael Shlikht and German film magnate Bodo Scriba, withheld funds from 2000 to 2006, when Fox started its own distrib in the territory, headed by Shlikht.

At that time, it also set up a joint venture with GFI called Gemini Entertainment.

GFI has allegedly since filed for bankruptcy in Moscow.

Fox’s partnership with GFI was one of the most successful in Russia’s rapidly growing market over recent years.

As well as distributing Hollywood pics, it also brought attention to Russian-made blockbusters, starting with Timur Bekmambetov’s “Night Watch,” which subsequently went into worldwide distribution through Fox Searchlight.

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