Backers seek kidpic $

'Fab Four for the under-5s' film leaves investors fuming

SYDNEY — Australian film sales agent Beyond and 20th Century Fox could be drawn into a legal scuffle over a pic made with kids band the Wiggles.

Investors who sank more than A$1.6 million ($960,000) into 1997’s “The Wiggles Movie” have hired legal counsel and are threatening action.

They complain only 13% of their original investment in the film has been returned despite the film grossing about $1.3 million at the local box office, securing overseas distribution and becoming one of Oz’s biggest kidvids.

Crunching numbers

Investors, who got 96% tax deductions for amounts invested, said Beyond generated $750,000 in foreign sales and that gross vid sales should equal $2.8 million. They demand an audit to see if they are entitled to, as the prospectus says, 50% of the “proceeds of the exploitation of the film” plus their original money back.

But given that B.O. and vid takings are split between distribbers, exhibbers and producers, foreign sales and TV sales incur commission fees and there have been delays in Beyond getting money from foreign distribs, there may not be that much money to fight over.

Pic rep Hilton Fatt told reporters, “We didn’t get the box office that we hoped to get.” He added that investors are confusing gross with net figures.

While the film was popular, the problem is most of the group’s target audience is under 5, a group that often gets into cinemas for free.

The Wiggles is a quartet often called the “Fab Four for the under-5s.”

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