Canal Plus to Bid for Carolco’s Film Library, Sources Say : Entertainment: Offer is expected to top one from Twentieth Century Fox.


The fight over the remains of big-budget movie producer Carolco Pictures is expected to intensify this week when French pay-television giant Canal Plus formally bids $47 million for the company’s film library, people close to the deal said.

The Canal Plus offer would trump a previous bid by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., which agreed in November to pay $50 million for a larger portion of Carolco assets, which not only includes Carolco’s library, but rights to sequels and various film projects.

Fox recently reduced its bid to $47.5 million when it decided to forgo a claim Carolco is making for payments it contends it is owed in a dispute with TriStar Pictures, which formerly distributed Carolco films.


Fox may also reduce its bid by another $5 million if it is unable to reach an agreement with Marvel Entertainment over the development of a “Spiderman” film that was to involve Carolco.

Carolco’s library includes some of Hollywood’s biggest box-office hits worldwide, such as “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Basic Instinct,” “Total Recall” and “Cliffhanger.”

Plagued by high overhead and several box-office bombs, Carolco filed for bankruptcy protection in November immediately after agreeing to sell the assets to Fox.

Fox executives could not be reached for comment on the Canal Plus bid, which is expected to be filed as early as Tuesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, where Carolco’s fate will ultimately be decided.

Representatives of bondholders said Fox can still submit a revised bid, and other parties, notably billionaire John Kluge’s Metromedia and European entertainment giant PolyGram, remain as potential bidders as well.

As previously reported, Carolco is currently responding to grand jury subpoenas seeking financial and tax information on its since departed founding partners, Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna.


After a report in The Times on the subpoenas Friday, Cinergi Pictures, the prominent production company Vajna now heads, issued a statement confirming that Vajna is a target of the criminal investigation and that the company believes it stems from a lengthy audit of his personal tax returns.

Vajna most recently produced Oliver Stone’s controversial film “Nixon,” now being distributed by Walt Disney Co. Neither Kassar nor his lawyers have returned calls seeking comment on the subject.