It's early in the market. People are still cautious about using stuff in the
mini-fridge and catching up with people they used to hate. But deal must be
Talk swirled around an American buyer for the French opening night film by
director Patrice Leconte, "Ridicule," but hoopla as an opening
night film at
Cannes doesn't often translate into almighty dollars. Here, where there are
people marketing some of the worst trash you'll ever lay eyes on, a film with
period costumes and men in wigs and grand estates and ladies simpering behind
fans looks like hot product. But back in America, "Restoration" is a similar
kind of movie, and it's hanging on by a few sprockets to one art house. The
movie titles even sound the same, so I bet it's a long shot on "Ridicule"
scooping up a big sale.
Turns out I'm wrong. Miramax outbids several companies with an offer put
between $550,000 and $1 million. I've been wrong before - like the time I
said Odyssey is a very smart company. They'll be around for a while. Well,
they slipped into one of those Paragraphs (7 or 11 or something that sounds
like a corner market), but the good news is - they're back!
Sitting on the Carlton Terrace (I love starting sentences like this), I was
about to leave to see the dread Peter Greenaway pic, when two very nice men
named Steven Greenwald and Ira Smith arrived to inform me and my buddy,
Mayra, that Odyssey is with us again - after three defunct years.
Now, an executive dies a thousand deaths; a film company dies but one - and
not for lack of trying. People like Steven Greenwald and Ira Smith keep them
alive as long as possible - doing workouts, etc. - or simply take them over,
becoming respectively CEO and president. Financing is on the horizon for new
equity (in the millions) and a financing line of new acquisitions of foreign
rights to North American-produced films (north of $20 million).
"Ira and I've been partners since 1979," says Greenwald. "In the 1980s we
financed more than $250 million in motion picture deals." They've been
involved with many companies over the decades - Vision, De Laurentiis,
Weintraub, Nelson and, clearly, specialize in work-outs. Why did they take
on Odyssey? "The company still had a good reputation internationally and as
a public company, with a good library of quality films. Those
characteristics enable us to seize the opportunity to raise new financing."
The guys have taken offices in the Carlton to promote and pre-sell a Sorvino
project - yes, Mira Sorvino and papa Paul in a film that will have the
quality we used to enjoy in Odyssey product. Thanks, Steve, thank you, Ira.
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