STARS IN THEIR
EYES BUT FEET GROUNDED
Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com
[ November 16th 2001 ]
film company Winchester Entertainment has Hollywood's
biggest names knocking on its door after the box
office success of its first blockbuster Heartbreakers,
but chief executive Gary Smith has promised not
to get 'star struck'.
accountant Mr Smith, who has been on the phone
to film star Michael Douglas 'every day this week'
planning a new film, said the company would chose
its new film collaborations carefully. "We've
had 20 big producers that have wanted to deal
with us, but we have turned them all down - with
the exception of The Donners and Wind Dancer -
because we have to feel comfortable with them.
Investors in Winchester can sleep easy at night
knowing we are not star struck in any way," he
- who directed the Lethal Weapon and X Men films
- and Wind Dance have agreed to give Winchester
first call on any film scripts they get their
hands on in return for covering part of their
overhead costs. The pair are working on over ten
scripts at the moment and Mr Smith said he hoped
two would begin production in the Spring.
the strength of the relationship with the Donners
became clear when they recommended not investing
in a Tomb Raider-style version of the Playstation
game Crazy Driver, because they had heard something
better was in the pipeline. It turned out to be
a Mel Gibson-fronted drama called Sam and George.
"They said, 'we want the first film we give you
to be a big one'. It shows a lot about their approach,"
has also hired one of the best, and most expensive,
entertainment law firms in Hollywood - Ziffren,
Brittenham, Branca and Fischer - to make sure
the big film studios like Paramount and MGM know
they mean business.
you're going to swim with sharks you have got
to have sharks to protect you," he said. The lawyers'
retainer contributed to a jump in operating expenses,
during the six months to the end of September,
from pounds 843,000 last year to pounds 1.4 million.
This combined with a pounds 22 million rights
issue last November to knock earnings growth,
with earnings per share down to 2.6p from 3.3p
profits did increase to pounds 1 million from
pounds 972,000 last time on pounds 4.13 million
of sales - nearly double the turnover seen last
year. A first time interim dividend of 1/1p, costing
the company pounds 150,000, is paid.
still has pounds 11 million of the pounds 22 million
raised last year and has said it has pounds 4
million in license fees heading its way in the
second half. The shares closed yesterday at 1581/1p
having initially fallen 5p on the concern the
company would miss its broker's full year profit
forecast of pounds 4.5 million.