Franchise Pictures

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Franchise Pictures LLC
Industry Independent film studio
Fate Bankrupt
Founded 1998
Defunct 2005
Key people Elie Samaha
Andrew Stevens
Subsidiaries Franchise Interactive

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
Retrograde 2004 Christopher Kulikowski N/A N/A 3.1/10
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".[1] 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.[2] 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".[3]

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".[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]


  1. ^ Staff (2002-06-06). "FBI Probes Big Indie Budgets". StudioBriefing: Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  2. ^ Randall, Laura (2000-12-22). "Franchise, Intertainment duel; Countersuits ask $75 million-plus each in film licensing dispute". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  3. ^ Staff (2001-01-19). "$75M Battlefield Over Film Flops". New York Post. 
  4. ^ Hiestand, Jesse (2004-05-10). "Baeres: No secret budget deal". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  5. ^ Shprintz, Janet (2004-06-21). "Attempt to Collect". Variety. 
  6. ^ Shprintz, Janet (2004-06-17). "Samaha Slammed". Variety. 
  7. ^ Shprintz, Janet; Dana Harris (August 23, 2004). "Elie's new chapter: Samaha's Franchise files for bankruptcy". Variety. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

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