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Viacom Takes $115 Million Write-Down for ‘Monster Trucks’

Viacom is taking a $115 million writedown to earnings for an unidentified Paramount movie, widely believed to be “Monster Trucks.”

Viacom disclosed Wednesday it was lowering its earnings forecast for the current fourth fiscal quarter ending Sept. 30 and cited “a programming impairment charge of $115 million.” It said the charge was  “related to the expected performance of an unreleased film.”

Matthew Harrigan, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities, told Variety that the write-down is probably for “Monster Trucks.”

“Monster Trucks” will open on Jan. 13, and is a live-action and CGI-animation hybrid directed by Chris Wedge. The cast includes Jane Levy, Lucas Till, Tom Lennon, Barry Pepper, Amy Ryan, Danny Glover, Holt McCallany, and Frank Whaley.

The film has been delayed several times. It was originally due to open on Dec. 25, 2015, then pushed back to March 18, 2016, and delayed again until January.

The action-comedy produced by Paramount Animation and Mary Parent’s Disruption Entertainment is estimated to carry a $100 million production budget.

Drexel Hamilton analyst Tony Wible also told Variety that the write-down is likely for “Monster Trucks.” He said that the loss “implies that Paramount will have lost about $500 million this year despite a favorable box office, home entertainment, and licensing environment.”

The studio’s best performer was “Star Trek Beyond,” which has grossed $157 million in the U.S. — well under “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Its “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” grossed only $82 million and its reboot of “Ben-Hur,” co-financed with MGM, was a flop with $26 million.

“The studio is gradually losing its major franchises, and it may be difficult to launch new ones in the increasingly competitive film slate,” Wible said. “We are lowering our future margin assumptions for the studio.”

Watch the trailer for “Monster Trucks” below.

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