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Pix nick senator revs

'Charlotte,' 'Black,' 'New' B.O. worse than expected

BERLIN — Massive writedowns took their toll on Senator Entertainment’s 2002 results: Losses skyrocketed from e4.2 million ($5 million) to $211 million while revenues sank 55% to $75 million.

The Berlin-based producer-distrib, which posted its annual results Friday, attributed the losses to writedowns of film assets, including big-name flops from its output deal with Revolution Studios, totaling $168 million, as well as a $55 million writedown of its stake in local multiplex chain Cinemaxx, which is struggling in the saturated exhib market.

Company made nearly 38% of its revenue from TV sales, including a deal with insolvent TV giant Kirch Media last October.

Revenue from theatrical features of its output deals with Revolution and the U.K.’s FilmFour, including “Charlotte Gray,” “Black Hawk Down” and “The New Guy,” was worse than expected.

Company, which is anticipating revenues between $60 million and $70 million in 2003, will focus on German and international inhouse productions, marketing selected film rights and world sales.

Senator’s upcoming titles include Sonke Wortmann’s historical soccer drama “Das Wunder von Bern” and comedy “Teddy Schuh — Der Tag wird kommen.”

It wants to beef up its world sales arm, Senator Intl., which carries no risk for the group as productions are greenlit only after the budget has been secured through pre-sales and other financing agreements.

Company has deals with Gold Circle Films as well as its Ghost House Pictures joint venture with Sam Raimi. Senator is handling world sales for that company’s upcoming “Boogeyman,” which was picked up by Sony in the U.S., as well as “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” which was sold to New Line.

Senator also intends to restructure its outstanding loan agreements with creditor banks. While execs are optimistic that the company can pull itself up by its bootstraps, local observers have reservations. Senator’s short-term debt has climbed to $214 million — $180 million of which is owed to banks.

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