Petersen files suit in L.A. against Advanced Medien

Helmer claims company underfunded prod'n outfit

In another case spawned by the collapse of the German Neuer Markt, director Wolfgang Petersen has sued Advanced Licensing for underfunding the director’s motion picture production company that was set up under a five-year multimillion-dollar deal.

According to the complaint, filed Monday in the Santa Monica branch of L.A. Superior Court, Petersen, whose directing credits include “Air Force One” and “The Perfect Storm,” entered into a written agreement with Advanced in April 2000 to create a production company and develop films to be produced by Petersen.

Petersen is represented by Larry Stein of Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan. Stein also represents Franchise Pictures in its ongoing legal battle with German distributor Intertainment.

Advanced could not be reached for comment.

The deal allegedly required Advanced to provide overhead funding of $7.5 million in five annual installments and development funding of $12 million in eight semi-annual installments. Advanced also was required to put up a letter of credit for $5 million.

According to the complaint, Advanced never provided the letter of credit, instead belatedly provided a $3 million letter of credit. In addition, Advanced owes an installment of $1.3 million in development funding.

The suit alleges that Advanced falsely accused Petersen of breaching the contract and has issued press releases claiming it has fulfilled all payment obligations. Advanced has made these statements, the complaint alleges, to prop up the plummeting stock of the parent corporation, Advanced Medien, in anticipation of the late-August shareholders meeting and because the company has serious cash-flow problems.

The complaint alleges causes of action for breach of contract and fraud and seeks money damages and a right to terminate the contract.