×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Epic library battle looms

NEW YORK — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Walt Disney Co. and Polygram Holdings are among a large group of companies exploring the purchase of the Epic group of film libraries, now being auctioned by the French government agency CDR.

Companies last week submitted expressions of interest in buying the 1,000-title library and sources said interest was strong. Among the companies thought to be interested in the catalog — in addition to MGM, Disney and Polygram — are Live Entertainment, Carlton Communications and Pearson.

About 12 companies have been invited to move into the second round of the sale, which involves due diligence investigation of the library and is expected to take several weeks. Three “data rooms,” with info on the licensing contracts on the library’s titles, have been set up in L.A. for the use of potential buyers, sources said.

Collection of titles

The library, which is expected to fetch $150 million to $200 million, is a collection of titles inherited from independent film companies such as Epic, De Laurentiis and Hemdale that owed money to French bank Credit Lyonnais and transferred the libraries to the bank to settle their debts.

CDR was formed in 1995 to hold and eventually sell various assets inherited by Credit Lyonnais. The biggest such entertainment asset, MGM, was sold last year.

MGM is now seen as a leading buyer for the library because the Lion has built up an enormous film library that could be further enhanced with this deal. MGM has 3,639 titles in its library, including titles in the Orion catalog, far bigger than the next biggest libraries owned by Warner Bros. and Sony. People close to MGM confirmed the Lion’s interest in the Epic library but an MGM spokesman declined to comment.

On the other hand, MGM’s existing ownership of a big library may make it less likely to strongly pursue the Epic deal, Wall Streeters said. In contrast, Polygram, which has looked at and passed on several film acquisitions in the past few years, may be more motivated to buy the library because of its size.

Polygram is usually very conservative about the price it bids in auctions, however. A Polygram spokeswoman declined comment.

Disney’s interest may signal that the House of Mouse wants to beef up its relatively small library, which has only about 450 titles. A Disney spokesman declined comment.

The library’s titles include worldwide video rights on Castle Rock films such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “City Slickers,” “Misery” and “Malice,” which were inherited from Nelson Entertainment, which had helped finance the pics. The bulk of the library is not A pictures, however.

More Film

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Citizen Kane,” “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your [...]

  • Andy Vajna Dead: 'Rambo' Producer and

    Andy Vajna, 'Rambo' Producer, Dies at 74

    Andy Vajna, executive producer of several “Rambo” films as well as “Total Recall” and several “Terminator” movies, has died at 74. The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of the fund. With partner Mario Kassar, Vajna [...]

  • Glass trailer

    Box Office: 'Glass' Dominates MLK Weekend With $47 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million. If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • 'St. Bernard Syndicate' Review: A Quietly

    Film Review: 'St. Bernard Syndicate'

    John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan may have received major award nominations this season for their fine work in “Stan & Ollie,” but there’s arguably a superior Laurel & Hardy tribute act to be found in the droll Danish comedy “St. Bernard Syndicate.” As a pair of bumbling losers who turn an already dubious business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content