Financially strapped Carolco Pictures, under continuing pressure from its bankers and foreign shareholders to restructure, is selling Spelling Entertainment certain TV rights to its film library in a deal valued at $64 million.
The agreement Wednesday gives the once-highflying production company--maker of such costly action/adventure films as "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and the "Rambo" trilogy--some badly needed cash.
At the same time, Carolco gives up valuable long-term assets, a path tread by such troubled studios as Orion Pictures and MGM/UA Entertainment.
In the last three months, Carolco has announced a series of steps aimed at raising cash to help meet production expenses. Last month, foreign investors agreed to pump an additional $45 million into the studio and defer payment of $10 million owed them.
Spelling will get TV rights for a 21-year period to Carolco's library of 150 films. A Carolco spokeswoman said the deal does not affect an agreement to license its films to the pay-TV channel Showtime.
It is unclear how much money Carolco will get from Spelling. The companies said the agreement includes obligations and receivables due Carolco. Receivables are monies owed to a company but not yet paid.
Selling or leasing a film library is considered a last-ditch effort by a production company to raise cash. Libraries are valuable because the films can be licensed out many times over a period of years, providing long-term income.
"They may be mortgaging their future," said Doug Lowell, an entertainment analyst with San Francisco-based Alton Investment Co.
Still, analysts are encouraged about Carolco's chances of staying afloat.
They say the foreign investors that recently took control of the board--including Pioneer Electronics Corp. of Japan, Canal Plus of France and Rizzoli Corriere della Sera Group of Italy--appear committed to keeping the studio in business.
In the latest in a series of staffing cuts, Carolco recently laid off 25 of its 187 employees. It also successfully completed a tender offer to redeem $67.4 million worth of its 14% senior notes.
Carolco stock closed unchanged Wednesday at $2.65.