Franchise Pictures LLC
IndustryIndependent film studio
FounderElie Samaha
Andrew Stevens
Ashok Amritraj
FateChapter 11 bankruptcy
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, United States[1]
Key people
Elie Samaha
Andrew Stevens
SubsidiariesFranchise Interactive
Phoenician Entertainment[2]
Franchise Pictures Classics[2]

Franchise Pictures, LLC was an American independent motion picture production and distribution company, founded by Elie Samaha, Ashok Amritraj, 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.

As of 2021, half of the Franchise Pictures library, along with that of ThinkFilm, is now owned by Orange Holdings LLC.[3] Another half of the Franchise Pictures library is owned by Revolution Studios (via Morgan Creek Productions).[4][5]

In 2004, in a case heard before a jury in a Los Angeles federal courtroom, Intertainment Licensing GmbH v. Franchise Pictures, et al.,[6] Judge Stotler awarded a plaintiff's verdict for $121.7 million against Franchise Pictures and Elie Samaha for fraudulent accounting. 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, 2007.[7]


Franchise Pictures was started in 1997, with Phoenician Entertainment serving as subsidiary for lower-budget films. Its initial employees were Elie Samaha and Ashok Amritraj, who would later leave two years later to start Hyde Park Entertainment.[8]

On October 8, 1998, it signed a distribution agreement with Morgan Creek Productions and Warner Bros. Pictures, in which Franchise paid the distribution rights to both Morgan Creek and WB for North America and the United Kingdom, while Summit Entertainment would distribute overseas.[9] On May 19, 1999, the company had signed a deal with Intertainment in order to bring all 60 motion pictures that Franchise had been receiving to Germany.[10] A month later, Intertainment had struck a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, in order to secure the rights to 60 motion pictures for worldwide distribution.[11]

On July 2, 2001, Morgan Creek and its CEO James G. Robinson sued Franchise Pictures for breach of contract, resulting in Morgan Creek to end their partnership with Franchise Pictures after the release of Heist (2001).

During Franchise's partnership with Morgan Creek, by 2000, the companies had financial success with a film titled The Whole Nine Yards. However, they also suffered a huge flop with Battlefield Earth starring John Travolta, which received bad word-of-mouth and grossed $29.7 million on a $75 million budget.[12]


Release Date Title Notes
July 6, 1999 A Murder of Crows first Franchise Pictures production; also distributor
September 10, 1999 Storm Catcher co-production with Phoenician Entertainment
December 29, 1999 The Third Miracle first theatrical release; co-production with Sony Pictures Classics
January 21, 2000 The Boondock Saints distribution; also co-producer
February 11, 2000 Mercy co-production with Warner Bros. Pictures
February 18, 2000 The Whole Nine Yards co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment; first film under Morgan Creek pact
April 28, 2000 The Big Kahuna co-production with Lions Gate Entertainment
May 12, 2000 Battlefield Earth co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment; Nominee for Razzie Award for Worst Picture
July 4, 2000 Jill Rips co-production with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; also distributor
August 25, 2000 The Art of War co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment; international distribution by 20th Century Fox
September 14, 2000 Auggie Rose
October 6, 2000 Get Carter co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment
October 13, 2000 Animal Factory co-production with Phoeniciann Entertainment
January 19, 2001 The Pledge co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment
February 23, 2001 3000 Miles to Graceland co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment
March 2, 2001 The Caveman's Valentine co-production with Universal Focus
March 11, 2001 Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her co-production with United Artists
April 10, 2001 Agent Red co-production with Phoenician Entertainment
April 27, 2001 Driven co-production with Warner Bros.
May 18, 2001 Angel Eyes co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment and The Canton Company
June 15, 2001 Viva Las Nowhere co-production with Jason Bloom Productions
November 9, 2001 Heist co-production with Morgan Creek Entertainment; last film under Morgan Creek pact
May 1, 2002 Green Dragon co-production with Columbia Pictures; released under Franchise Pictures Classics
July 9, 2002 Zig Zag released under Franchise Pictures Classics
August 30, 2002 FeardotCom co-production with Horrorhouse Pictures
August 30, 2002 Avenging Angelo co-production with Martyn Burke Productions
September 3, 2002 If... Dog... Rabbit...
September 6, 2002 City by the Sea
September 20, 2002 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever directed by Wych Kaosayananda
November 15, 2002 Half Past Dead co-production with Screen Gems directed by Don Michael Paul
November 22, 2002 The 4th Tenor Home media released by Warner Bros. and Franchise Pictures; theatrically distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
January 28, 2003 The Foreigner co-production with TriStar Pictures directed by Michael Oblowitz
May 23, 2003 The In-Laws
June 20, 2003 Alex & Emma directed by Rob Reiner
October 21, 2003 Final Examination co-production with Artisan Entertainment and Horrorhouse Pictures
March 12, 2004 Spartan directed by David Mamet
April 9, 2004 The Whole Ten Yards co-production with Warner Bros; sequel to The Whole Nine Yards
July 20, 2004 Out of Reach directed by Po-Chih Leong
September 17, 2004 Funky Monkey co-production with Harry Basil Productions
January 14, 2005 Retrograde
February 15, 2005 Into the Sun co-production with Destination Films
September 2, 2005 A Sound of Thunder last Franchise Picture film to be released by Warner Bros.
January 13, 2006 Tristan & Isolde co-production with 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Productions
May 18, 2007 The Wendell Baker Story directed by Andrew & Luke Wilson; final Franchise Pictures release


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".[13] 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.[14] 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".[15]

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".[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] 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, 2007.[7]


  1. ^ Los Angeles
  2. ^ a b "Franchise". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  3. ^ "WebVoyage Record View 1". 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  4. ^ "Morgan Creek wins rights to Franchise pics". IMDb.
  5. ^ "Films". Morgan Creek Entertainment.
  6. ^ Adler, Michael S. (n.d.). "Intertainment Licensing GmbH v. Franchise Pictures, et al". MoreLaw. Retrieved 4 October 2022. Franchise admitted that the budgets were inflated but contended that Intertainment did not agree to pay on the basis of the budgets.
  7. ^ a b Shprintz, Janet; Dana Harris (August 23, 2007). "Elie's new chapter: Samaha's Franchise files for bankruptcy". Variety. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  8. ^ Carver, Benedict (1999-02-25). "Amritraj bows out of Franchise Pics". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  9. ^ Carver, Benedict (1998-10-08). "Franchise, Morgan to ink distrib'n pact". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  10. ^ "Intertainment inks Franchise pact". Variety. 1999-05-19. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  11. ^ "Intertainment stock up with WB distribution deal". Variety. 1999-06-21. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  12. ^ Battlefield Earth movie
  13. ^ "FBI Probes Big Indie Budgets". StudioBriefing: IMDb. 2002-06-06. Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
  14. ^ Randall, Laura (2000-12-22). "Franchise, Intertainment duel; Countersuits ask $75 million-plus each in film licensing dispute". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ "$75M Battlefield Over Film Flops". New York Post. 2001-01-19.
  16. ^ Hiestand, Jesse (2007-05-10). "Baeres: No secret budget deal". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ Shprintz, Janet (2007-06-21). "Attempt to Collect". Variety.
  18. ^ Shprintz, Janet (2007-06-17). "Samaha Slammed". Variety.