You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlusconi cuts off PentAmerica

Silvio Berlusconi’s brief and expensive fling with American film production is over, sources said yesterday.

The Italian media baron won’t finance any of the new pictures in development at PentAmerica, the Los Angeles office of the Berlusconi-Cecchi Gori joint venture for U.S. production, according to sources in Milan.

“Berlusconi always considered his financial involvement in U.S. film production as an experiment with a time limit. The time limit’s up,” a Silvio Berlusconi Communications spokesperson in Milan said.

L.A.-based PentAmerica prexy Gianni Nunnari called the statement a “rumor” and said: “I don’t know anything about it. We have no official communication about it.”

Sources in Milan also said any new projects generated at PentAmerica will be bankrolled solely by Vittorio Cecchi Gori and won’t receive any coin from Berlusconi. To date, the partners have invested some $ 60 million in the production of three films and development of several others.

Even if the information turned out to be true, Nunnari told Daily Variety: “It doesn’t change anything for us. We were existing and producing movies before Berlusconi joined us in America. … We will keep producing with our own money. We’re going to keep doing movies for Cecchi Gori or Berlusconi or both.”

The big question now is what will happen to high-profile projects in development at PentAmerica, such as “Ocean Storms,” a Rob Reiner film to star Warren Beatty that was being floated at AFM, reportedly budgeted at $ 50 million , and “Ferrari,” budgeted at $ 65 million.

Sources close to Cecchi Gori in Rome stress that the Italo producer is committed to continuing with his plans to build a viable U.S. production entity.

“Vittorio Cecchi Gori has no problems about going ahead with financing for the PentAmerica films already in development. We’ve been producers for 40 years before Penta even existed, and we certainly won’t stop now,” a Penta exec said.

Berlusconi remains a 50% partner in PentAmerica parent Penta, which is Italy’s largest film production and distribution banner. Berlusconi is neither leaving the partnership nor reducing his share in the Rome-based company. He simply won’t be financing any of the new projects coming out of PentAmerica.

Sources in Milan say Berlusconi always had a “wait-and-see” attitude toward PentAmerica, and that he was discouraged by the lackluster results of the banner’s first three projects, the Jack Nicholson-Ellen Barkin starrer “Man Trouble,” Ted Kotcheff’s “Folks” and “House of Cards” starring Kathleen Turner.

More Film

  • 'Sink or Swim,' 'Custody' Lead Race

    'Sink or Swim,' 'Custody' Lead Race for France's Cesar Awards

    French actor-turned-director Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody” lead the race for this year’s Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, with 10 nominations each, including best picture and best director. “Sink or Swim” (“Le Grand Bain” in France), a star-driven dramedy about a men’s synchronized swimming team, world-premiered at [...]

  • Face to Face with German Films

    Face to Face with German Films Unveils the Six ‘Faces’ of 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Teutonic promotional organization German Films has announced that its annual initiative supporting German filmmaking internationally, Face to Face With German Films, will focus on actors and actresses as the campaign enters its fourth year. Six of Germany’s leading thesps – Maria Dragus, Christian Friedel, Luise Heyer, Jonas Nay, Jördis Triebel and Fahri Yardim – will [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    'Green Book' Lands Post-Oscars Theatrical Release in China

    Fresh off Monday’s news that it had picked up five Academy Award nominations, best picture favorite “Green Book” is set for more good luck. The film will hit Chinese theaters on March 1, the first weekend after the Oscars, which fall on Feb 24, Alibaba Pictures announced on its official social media account. The film [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Chinese Celebrities Pay $1.7 Billion in Back Taxes Following Fan Bingbing Scandal

    Chinese film and TV stars have paid about $1.7 billion (RMB11.7 billion) in additional taxes, following last summer’s scandal surrounding actress Fan Bingbing. The figure was announced late Tuesday by China’s State Tax Administration. Chinese authorities launched a probe into the tax affairs of the entertainment sector last October. Companies and individuals were asked to [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Film News Roundup: AMC, Regal to Leave 'Roma' Out of Best Picture Showcases

    In today’s film news roundup, “Roma” will not be in the best picture showcases at AMC and Regal, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” gets a release and SAG-AFTRA’s David White has a new appointment. ‘ROMA’ SPURNED AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are leaving Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” out of their upcoming annual showings of the contenders for [...]

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • Paul DavidsonVariety Big Data Summit Presented

    Listen: The Orchard's Paul Davidson on Surviving Sundance Bidding Wars

    Hollywood heads to Park City, Utah this week in the hopes of finding the next big Sundance Film Festival breakout. Paul Davidson, executive vice president of film and television at The Orchard, plans to be in the thick of it. In today’s edition of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, Davidson opens up about The Orchard’s strategy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content