ROME — Endemol chief operating officer Marco Bassetti has snapped up the 300-title library of Italy’s once mighty movie mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori through a separate company he has set up with no ties to Endemol.
The savvy Bassetti on Thursday emerged as the single bidder at a Rome court-ordered auction of Cecchi Gori assets, which follows the Italo producer’s incarceration last year for several months on fraudulent bankruptcy charges.
Bassetti’s Syndication Italiana outfit bid $48 million for the package of mostly Italian vintage pics, which includes Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning “Life Is Beautiful” and Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Everybody’s Fine,” a Hollywood remake of which starring Robert De Niro is expected to be released this year by Miramax.
“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Seven,” and “Carlito’s Way” are among Yank titles in the large package.
Bassetti’s purchase of this remaining part of the Cecchi Gori library is the final act in the demise of the family-owned group that long dominated the Italian film industry, before its botched attempt to enter the TV sector in the early 1990s and compete with Silvio Berlusconi.
Previously another chunk of the library had been acquired by Berlusconi’s Mediaset.
Cecchi Gori, who claims he is being prosecuted unjustly in the wake of his group’s financial meltdown, is fighting the sale, which is subject to final approval by a committee of his creditors, but this is considered a mere formality.
Other Cecchi Gori assets being auctioned by the court include his profitable home video unit, which has a $4 million starting price. Separately, Cecchi Gori has put his digs in New York’s Trump Tower up for sale for a reported $28.5 million.