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Yari puts releasing division in Chapter 11

December 13, 2008|Claudia Eller | Eller is a Times staff writer.

Yari Film Group, the producer of such films as "Crash" and "The Illusionist," said it had put its movie releasing division into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

The Westwood-based producer and distributor, founded by financier Bob Yari, said it was compelled to file for involuntary bankruptcy as the result of a court order "prompted by the actions of four creditors with disputed debts." The company would not provide further information.

In addition, YFG said it would have to undertake "substantial layoffs" and suspend its movie releasing activities because of tightening credit markets and the bankruptcy earlier this year of Hollywood payroll services provider Axium International. YFG employs about 65 people. It is unknown how many will be let go.

Yari said the bankruptcy of its releasing arm, however, would not impair its ongoing movie production operations, which are distinct entities with separate financing and would "remain unaffected by the legal proceedings."

YFG said it expected to "continue without interruption" work on producing two movies in the first quarter of next year: "Killing Pablo," starring Javier Bardem as narcotics kingpin Pablo Escobar, and "The Governess," a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez.

The company also has at least two movies awaiting release: "The Maiden Heist," starring Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken, and "Assassination of a High School President," with Bruce Willis. Those films will presumably have to find new distributors.

Since it was founded in 2003, YFG has produced about 30 films, including 2006's Best Picture Oscar winner "Crash."

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laudia.eller@latimes.com

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