Gallic company to pay $45.8 mil for 'St. Anna' failure

A Paris court has ordered TF1 Intl., the sales and distribution arm of the Gallic net, to pay €32 million ($45.8 million) to Spike Lee, the helmer-producer of “Miracle at St. Anna,” scribe James McBride and Italian producer On My Own for failure to honor its distribution agreement.

TF1 Intl. acquired sales rights for the world (except the U.S., Canada and Italy) and distribution rights in France from On My Own.

A French theatrical rollout was scheduled for October 2008, but TF1 Intl. canceled the release after the pic preemed at the Deauville Film Festival to poor reviews.

TF1 Intl. argued that the “film did not conform to the approved script, and sought termination of the distribution agreement.”

The company intends to appeal, both on the merits and on the level of damages, which it claims are “disproportionate given the film’s performance — especially in the American market, where it took only $7.8 million at the box office.”

It added, “The court’s decision does not materially alter the overall risk assessment already taken into account by the TF1 Group.”

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