Tag Archives: MPD

Health workers free admission SiCKO

TORONTO, All regulated healthcare workers across Canada presenting valid ID (as set out below) will be able to see SiCKO for free from Monday July 23 to Thursday July 26 to further encourage members of the public to see Michael Moore’s provocative and acclaimed film.

The offer comes after The United Nurses of Alberta purchased 150 tickets to distribute to the public. Filmmaker Michael Moore had congratulated the Union on their efforts and offered to reimburse the union for their action.

Subsequently, Alliance Atlantis* Motion Picture Distribution extended the free admission offer to all card-carrying nurses in Canada. Over 6000 nurses accepted the invitation in just four days. The new initiative will allow all regulated healthcare workers to get into SiCKO for free from Monday July 23 to Thursday July 26 by bringing their practice permit, license or registration card to any Cineplex Entertainment, Empire Theatre, or Landmark Cinema showing the film.

Commenting on the expanded opportunity, Jim Sherry, Executive Managing Director of Alliance Atlantis* Motion Picture Distribution said, "We’re pleased to be able to both give the opportunity for more people to see this remarkable movie and to say thank you to the healthcare community for their important contribution to the well-being of all Canadians."

When reached for comment, Michael Moore said, "I want to thank the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario for encouraging their members to bring your political leaders to go see SiCKO. It’s important to remind your elected officials how critical it is to protect your Medicare system established by Tommy Douglas, and the values and ideals behind it of taking care of everyone in society, no matter how rich or poor. And it’s not like your MPs and MPPs have anything better to do on a Friday night anyway."

SiCKO, Michael Moore’s highly acclaimed and entertaining exposé of the American healthcare system, continues to captivate audiences across the country. It is written, directed and produced by Michael Moore. The film is produced by Meghan O’Hara and co-produced by Anne Moore. Kathleen Glynn, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein serve as executive producers.

Alliance supports anti-theft laws

TORONTO, Alliance Atlantis* Motion Picture Distribution LP lends its support to today’s announcement by the Federal Government that it has introduced a Bill to address the rampant problem of film piracy in Canada to the House of Commons.

This action, introduced by The Honourable Beverly J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, is the first step in changing the law to make the unauthorized recording of a movie in a Canadian theatre a criminal offence. 

"We are delighted with the Government’s announcement to change the Criminal Code to help fight the growing problem of movie theft in Canadian theatres," said CEO John Bailey. "This is an important step towards positive changes to protect the rights of Canadian exhibitors, filmmakers, producers, directors and distributors, and we applaud the Government’s efforts."

Alliance no longer selling MPD

TORONTO (CP) _ Movie Distribution Income Fund said late Wednesday that Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. is "no longer interested" in trying to sell Motion Picture Distribution LP outright.

Alliance holds an indirect 51 per cent stake in the Canadian film distribution company, while the fund has a 49 per cent stake.

However, CanWest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS) announced late Wednesday that it had paired up with Wall Street bank Goldman, Sachs & Co. to acquire Alliance Atlantis in a $2.3 billion deal.

Under the proposed deal, a Canadian partner of GS Capital Partners, a private equity affiliate of the New York-based bank involved in the acquisition, would take control of Alliance’s interest in Motion Picture Distribution.

"The special committee of the fund continues to monitor circumstances, including those related to the proposed AACI sale transaction announced today, and their implications on the process to explore ownership alternatives in relation to MPD previously announced by the fund, including its effect on the nature of the transactions that may be available to unitholders of the fund (if any)," Movie Distribution said in a release.

Alliance Atlantis, a specialty broadcaster whose marquee property is the "CSI" TV-series franchise, said last October it wanted to sell its stake in Motion Picture Distribution, a leading movie distributor in Canada with other operations in Britain and Spain.

A few weeks later, Movie Distribution Income Fund said that it would join Alliance Atlantis in putting the distribution business up for sale. Each side needed the approval of the other to sell its interest in the partnership.

Potential buyers have been eyeing the fund since earlier in 2006, with the most talked-about candidate being London-based Marwyn Investment Management LLP, which had said it was prepared to pay about $400 million for the company. A formal offer was never put on the table. Goldman Sachs was another possible suitor.

MPD settles with former execs

TORONTO (CP) _ Motion Picture Distribution secured a deal with movie-maker New Line Cinema Corp. by agreeing to have ousted former chairman Victor Loewy return to the company as a consultant, ending months of conflict.

Under the agreement, Motion Picture will continue to distribute New Line’s films in Canada through to Dec. 31, 2008, calming investor fears that the major Hollywood player would abandon its contract since Loewy was no longer with the company.

Following the announcement Friday, units in Movie Distribution Income Fund (TSX:FLM.UN), a part owner of Motion Picture, jumped 6.8 per cent, or 49 cents, to close at $7.74 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The deal follows a public dispute with Loewy, in which Motion Picture tried to prevent him from establishing a competing Canadian distributor and lure away major distributors like New Line.

New Line has a clause in its contract allowing it to sever ties with Motion Picture if Loewy left the company. As part of Motion Picture’s settlement with Loewry, he will return to the distributor as a consultant, locking New Line into its contract until 2008.

Loewy will work for the same period under the title of chairman emeritus, but will not be a director or officer of Motion Picture or its affiliates, the company said.

The settlement will hold him to the confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements that Motion Picture was seeking to uphold in court.

"Mr. Loewy’s responsibilities will include providing advice and assistance as requested and having authority over New Line product," Motion Picture said.

Loewy will also receive fees and "other consideration" comparable to what he received before he left the company.

Motion Picture also said it has reached a settlement with former CEO Patrice Theroux and general counsel Paul Laberge who were fired in July for what the company said was "cause."

Loewy’s relationship with the company soured around that time. His lawyers claimed he was dismissed, while Motion Picture Distribution was adamant he resigned.

In late August, Motion Picture took Loewy to court and was granted a temporary injunction preventing him from soliciting movie studios for any new company he might set up. The two sides were set to meet in court as early as this week, though a date was never scheduled.

Details of the settlement with Theroux and Laberge were not disclosed, though the company said it included "confidentiality, non-competition, non-solicitation and standstill provisions."

Motion Picture had alleged the two men misused funds for travel and shut out a deal with a European distributor. Those allegations were never proven in court and were dismissed as part of the deal.

Alliance Atlantis Communications (TSX:AAC.B), which has a 51 per cent stake in Motion Picture, released a statement from CEO Phyllis Yaffe saying: "We are pleased that New Line has agreed to continue its output agreement with the partnership, and are satisfied to see that the partnership has resolved the outstanding issues with its former executives."

Calls to lawyers for the former executives and Loewy were not returned.

The settlement means that "peace has been restored" at the company, said Ben Mogil, an analyst at Westwind Partners.

Motion Picture risked losing about 15 per cent of its total revenue if it lost the New Line contract. Past blockbusters from New Line include the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the "Austin Powers" series. Its fall lineup includes the Kate Winslet drama "Little Children," which is already generating Oscar buzz.

However, the deals with both New Line and independent filmmaker Focus Features expire in 2008, which means there could be "significant unitholder risk" on the horizon, Mogil said in a report.

He suggests that longer-term investors sell their interest in the company.

Rumours that Movie Distribution might be bought out began mid-summer after the company reported "disappointing" second-quarter results in August, but expressed optimism for a complete turnaround in the fall.

The company then announced it would go through a strategic review by "as soon as possible."

That could determine whether the U.K.-based Marwyn Investment Management LLP, which planned to pay about $400 million for the company, will make a formal offer.

Marwyn maintained its interest in the deal throughout the company’s legal battle with Loewy, but didn’t comment Friday.

Mogil suggests Motion Picture will likely sell its European assets first because they’re not directly related to Alliance’s broadcasting operations and are of "very different nature" than the rest of the company.

Mogil raised his target for Movie Distribution to $8 from $6.25 to reflect "an eventual piecemeal sale of the company." But he warned that some valuations of the company placing its worth at a price higher than $10 are "very unlikely."

On Friday, Alliance’s class-B shares fell $1.03 cents to close at
$34.65 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.