|Industry||Independent film studio|
|Key people||Elie Samaha
Franchise Pictures LLC was an independent motion picture production and distribution company with Warner Bros. Entertainment, founded by Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens. They were known for their production in the action film genre. The company also had a short-lived video game arm, Franchise Interactive.
|Title||Year||Director||Budget||Gross (worldwide)||RT Approval Rating||IMDb Rating|
|A Murder of Crows||1998||Rowdy Herrington||N/A||N/A||6.4/10|
|The Boondock Saints||1999||Troy Duffy||$6 million||$30,471||20%||7.9/10|
|The Big Kahuna||1999||John Swanbeck||$7 million||$3,728,888||74%||6.7/10|
|Storm Catcher||1999||Anthony Hickox||N/A||N/A||4.1/10|
|Jill Rips||2000||Anthony Hickox||N/A||N/A||3.8/10|
|The Whole Nine Yards||2000||Jonathan Lynn||$41.3 million||$106,371,651||45%||6.7/10|
|Battlefield Earth||2000||Roger Christian||$44 million||$29,725,663||2%||2.4/10 (#76 on Bottom 100)|
|Get Carter||2000||Stephen Kay||$63.6 million||$19,412,993||12%||5.0/10|
|The Art of War||2000||Christian Duguay||$60 million||$40,400,425||16%||5.7/10|
|Agent Red||2000||Damian Lee||N/A||N/A||3.0/10|
|Green Dragon||2001||Timothy Linh Bui||N/A||N/A||61%||6.4/10|
|3000 Miles to Graceland||2001||Demian Lichtenstein||$62 million||$18,720,175||14%||5.9/10|
|The Pledge||2001||Sean Penn||$35 million||$29,419,291||78%||6.8/10|
|Driven||2001||Renny Harlin||$72 million||$54,744,738||14%||4.4/10|
|Heist||2001||David Mamet||$39 million||$28,510,652||65%||6.6/10|
|Angel Eyes||2001||Luis Mandoki||$53 million||$29,715,606||33%||5.6/10|
|City by the Sea||2002||Michael Caton-Jones||$40 million||$29,413,996||48%||6.2/10|
|Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever||2002||Wych Kaosayananda||$70 million||$19,924,033||0%||3.6/10|
|Half Past Dead||2002||Don Michael Paul||$13 million||$19,233,280||2%||4.5/10|
|Final Examination||2003||Ed Raymond||N/A||N/A||2.9/10|
|The Foreigner||2003||Michael Oblowitz||$16.7 million||N/A||0%||3.2/10|
|The In-Laws||2003||Andrew Fleming||$40 million||$26,891,849||34%||5.7/10|
|Alex & Emma||2003||Rob Reiner||$30 million||$15,368,897||11%||5.5/10|
|Spartan||2004||David Mamet||$23 million||$8,112,712||64%||6.6/10|
|Out of Reach||2004||Steven Seagal||$20 million||N/A||3.9/10|
|Funky Monkey||2004||Harry Basil||N/A||N/A||3.6/10|
|A Sound of Thunder||2005||Peter Hyams||$80 million||$11,665,465||6%||4.1/10|
|Tristan & Isolde||2006||Kevin Reynolds||N/A||$28,047,963||32%||6.9/10|
Franchise Pictures films have received mostly negative reviews. Both Battlefield Earth and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever were universally panned and are considered to be two of the worst films of all time. However a few of their films (The Boondock Saints and The Whole Nine Yards for example) have garnered a strong cult following.
Following the financial failure of Battlefield Earth and other films independently produced by Franchise Pictures, The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation was probing "the question of whether some independent motion picture companies have vastly inflated the budget of films in an effort to scam investors". In December 2000 the German-based Intertainment AG filed a lawsuit alleging that Franchise Pictures had fraudulently inflated budgets in films including Battlefield Earth, which Intertainment had helped to finance. Intertainment had agreed to pay 47% of the production costs of several films in exchange for European distribution rights, but ended up paying for between 60% and 90% of the costs instead. The company alleged that Franchise had defrauded it to the tune of over $75 million by systematically submitting "grossly fraudulent and inflated budgets".
The case was heard before a jury in a Los Angeles federal courtroom in May–June 2004. The court heard testimony from Intertainment that according to Franchise's bank records the real cost of Battlefield Earth was only $44 million, not the $75 million declared by Franchise. The remaining $31 million had been fraudulent "padding". Intertainment's head Barry Baeres told the court that he had only funded Battlefield Earth because it was packaged as a slate that included two more commercially attractive films, the Wesley Snipes vehicle The Art of War and the Bruce Willis comedy The Whole Nine Yards. Baeres testified that "Mr. Samaha said, 'If you want the other two pictures, you have to take Battlefield Earth—it's called packaging'". Baeres commented: "We would have been quite happy if he had killed Battlefield Earth".
Intertainment won the case and was awarded $121.7 million in damages, of which Samaha himself was declared by the court to be personally liable for $77 million in damages. However, the jury rejected Intertainment's claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, which would have trebled the damages if Franchise had been found liable on that charge. Samaha vowed to appeal but the fraud judgment destroyed Franchise's viability; the company and its subsidiaries all filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions on August 19, 2004.
- Staff (2002-06-06). "FBI Probes Big Indie Budgets". StudioBriefing: Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- Randall, Laura (2000-12-22). "Franchise, Intertainment duel; Countersuits ask $75 million-plus each in film licensing dispute". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Staff (2001-01-19). "$75M Battlefield Over Film Flops". New York Post.
- Hiestand, Jesse (2004-05-10). "Baeres: No secret budget deal". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Shprintz, Janet (2004-06-21). "Attempt to Collect". Variety.
- Shprintz, Janet (2004-06-17). "Samaha Slammed". Variety.
- Shprintz, Janet; Dana Harris (August 23, 2004). "Elie's new chapter: Samaha's Franchise files for bankruptcy". Variety. Retrieved 2010-07-01.