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Elie Samaha
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Producer
    (May 10, 1955- )
    Born in Zahle, Lebanon
    Owned Celebrity Cleaners and the Roxbury nightclub
    Founded Franchise Pictures (1998)
    Produced ‘Boondock Saints’ (1999), ‘The Big Kahuna’ (1999), ‘Things You Can Tell by Just Looking at Her’ (2000), ‘Battlefield Earth’ (2000), ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ (2000), ‘Get Carter’ (2000), ‘The Pledge’ (2001), ‘3000 Miles to Graceland’ (2001), ‘Driven’ (2001), ‘Angel Eyes’ (2001), ‘Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever’ (2002), ‘City by the Sea’ (2002), ‘The In-Laws’ (2003), ‘Alex & Emma’ (2003), ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ (2004) and ‘A Sound of Thunder’ (2005)
    Married actress Tia Carrerra (1992-2000)
    Other than ‘The Whole Nine Yards,’ most of the films he produced were box office bombs.
    The German company Intertainment AG, which had agreed to provide 47% of the production costs for several Franchise Picture films in return for the European distribution rights, sued, claiming it had been defrauded when Franchise submitted ‘grossly fraudulent and inflated budgets.’
    For example, the announced budget of ‘Battlefield Earth’ was $75 million, but the actual production costs were only $44 million. (With the result that Intertainment, having provided 47% of the official budget, ended up paying 80% of the real cost.)
    Intertainment won the case and was awarded $121 million in damages, with Samaha himself declared personally liable for $77 million (2004).
    After the judgment, he and Franchise both filed for bankruptcy.
    A lawyer suing him over unpaid legal fees claimed that he was hiding his assets by transferring them to his sister (2012).
    His formula for running a nightclub: ‘Charge the guys lots of money, the girls half price, add some celebrities and you have a club.’
    One of the studio executives who worked with him said, ‘We live in such a bland world, it’s nice when someone has a little color.’
    ’Variety’ noted about the Intertainment suit, ‘With constant quips and irreverent asides, Samaha certainly provided the most entertaining testimony of the trial.’
    He was found not guilty of violating the RICO Act, which would have tripled the judgment against him.
    He and ‘Tron’ producer Don Kushner purchased Grauman’s Chinese Theater (2011).

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 14 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
 
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