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'Terminator Salvation' producers file for bankruptcy protection

Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek seek Chapter 11, although the movie has sold $370 million worth of tickets around the world and has yet to be released on DVD.

August 20, 2009|Ben Fritz

Three companies belonging to Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek, owners of the "Terminator" franchise rights and producers of May's "Terminator Salvation," filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles Monday, the same day that the two producers sued their primary investor and one of its former employees.

Although "Terminator Salvation" has sold a healthy $370 million worth of tickets around the world and has yet to be released on DVD, Anderson and Kubicek didn't make a payment demanded by Santa Barbara hedge fund Pacificor, which financed their $30-million purchase of the "Terminator" rights in 2007 and made two subsequent loans to their Halcyon Co. production firm worth $9 million.

In a lawsuit Monday, Anderson and Kubicek said they couldn't make the payment because of a lien that Pacificor placed on Dominion Holdings, a company through which they earned their producing fees on the movie.

Anderson and Kubicek have had several legal disputes with former business associates in their short careers as film producers, during which "Terminator Salvation" has been the only movie they released.

According to several people familiar with their "Terminator Salvation" deal, Anderson and Kubicek will earn the greater of $5 million or 5% of the movie's revenues as producers.

"If it were not for these allegedly illegal liens that compromised Halcyon's liquidity, the company would not have had to file for Chapter 11 protection," Halcyon's bankruptcy counsel, Scott F. Gautier of Peitzman, Weg & Kempinsky, said in an e-mailed statement. "But its business is sound and we are confident that it will emerge from the Chapter 11 process intact and able to meet all its legal obligations."

Halcyon has thus far paid back about $15 million to Pacificor, people close to the company said. It's not clear how much interest Halcyon owes on top of the remaining $24 million in capital.

Depending on the outcome of the bankruptcy process and the lawsuits, Pacificor could end up controlling the "Terminator" rights -- the latest twist in the bizarre saga of the 25-year-old science fiction series.

One creditor said Anderson and Kubicek had been behind in their bills. Chris Tricarico, an attorney who represents the estate of science fiction author Philip K. Dick, said Halcyon didn't pay $41,667 of overhead it owed a company, Electric Sheep Productions, devoted to bringing the late author's works to the big screen. Halcyon signed a first-look deal with Electric Sheep in 2007.

"We already terminated the agreement because they were two months in arrears," Tricarico said.

The biggest creditor by far in the bankruptcy filings is Orlando Wood, a longtime acquaintance of the pair who lent Dominion Holdings $3.5 million. In an interview Wednesday, Wood said it was one of several loans he had made to them over the years, all of which had proved lucrative.

"The only times I have regretted doing business with Victor and Derek is when I haven't," he said.

Martine Berreiter, an "organizational consultant," is owed $100,000, according to the filings. Berreiter said she was introduced to Anderson and Kubicek by Suzannah Galland, a self-described "life coach" who is also listed as a creditor.

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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