Cannes Headliners: Where are they now?

Industry insiders make, break deals

It’s not unusual for producers to make a lot of noise on the Croisette. Here’s an update on some of the big deals announced at recent Cannes film fest gatherings.

THE DEAL: Elie Samaha partners with Paris-based financier-producer Tarak ben Ammar to form Dante Entertainment. Dante is expected invest $250 million-$300 million annually to produce and distribute three or four event titles including the Sylvester Stallone starrer “Avenging Angelo” and “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.” (Variety, May 9, 2001)

STATUS: While Samaha continues to produce despite legal woes, the Dante deal remains shrouded in mystery. Variety reported in October that Dante “proved to be a much more modest undertaking” and that “it was not clear if Ammar ever put equity into Franchise titles.” To date, “Ballistic,” released through Warner Bros., has taken $14 million at the domestic B.O. and “Avenging Angelo” is in the can without a release date.

THE DEAL: Production shingle Crystal Sky led by Steven Paul and Jon Voight pacts with MM Media Capital Partners for a $400 million line of credit to co-produce and co-finance up to 12 films over the next three years at Paramount. Pics will be budgeted at $20 million–$60 million. (Variety, May 15, 2000)

STATUS: Sources say, “There was never a deal. Misguided information was released to the press.”

THE DEAL: Germany’s Helkon Media launches foreign sales arm Helkon Intl. during Cannes in 2000 and begins selling territory rights for MGM’s high-priced “Rollerball.” In addition Helkon promises shingle Zide/Perry a four-pic $50 million deal in exchange for foreign rights the projects. (Variety, May 10, 12, 18, 2000)

STATUS: Helkon Media is out of business, though its U.K. subsidiary Helkon SK remains intact and is trying obtain control of its Teutonic parent. A string of flops, including “Rollerball,” along with a $12 million write-off on its 600-title film library and restructuring measures, culminated in Helkon claiming bankruptcy last August. As for the Zide/Perry deal, one film was made: the $4 million-$5 million “RepliKate,” which went straight to video.

THE DEAL: Epsilon (then Eureka) is in talks with Hyde Park Entertainment at the 1999 Cannes film fest. Epsilon plans to invest more than $250 million in exchange for all continental film rights of Hyde Park’s pics. (Variety, Aug. 12, 1999)

STATUS: One of the few recent Cannes deals with a happy ending — Epsilon reupped with Hyde Park last August for another five years. Under its original deal, Epsilon invested $100+ million over four pics: “Antitrust,” “Bandits,” “Original Sin,” and “Moonlight Mile.”

THE DEAL: After acquiring the rights for producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, Glen Tobias (“The Gingerbread Man”) sets up the $30 million “Easy Rider” sequel with sales shingle Miracle Entertainment. Pic was to have a fall 2000 start date. (Variety, March 15, 2000)

STATUS: The sequel will be the first production of the Malibu Movie Co., who bought the pic’s rights from David Kaplan, a non-pro who originally lent Tobias the money for the option. Cameras are reportedly set to roll on July 1, 2004. Miracle’s option on the pic lapsed.

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