September 14, 2012
By: John Clark
The production company behind Brad Pitt's upcoming movie, "Killing Them Softly," is filing for bankruptcy in Los Angeles bankruptcy court, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The company, Inferno International LLC, produces and finances major Hollywood films, and sources say that its distribution affiliate, Inferno Distribution LLC, has also filed for bankruptcy protection.
Among the films that the group has bankrolled over the years are "Killer Elite," "The Women," and "The Kids Are All Right," according to reports. The company itself admitted in its bankruptcy petition that it sought the aid of its bankruptcy attorney in order to "sort out the numerous claims, disputes and litigation involving their businesses and assets," sources say.
Sources indicate that the company has numerous creditors, and is also the target of several lawsuits from entities such as the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild.
In addition to the lawsuits from Hollywood unions, Inferno has also been tussling with former partner Alan Mann for several years. The source of their dispute is a disagreement over revenues earned from the film, "Just Friends," a romantic comedy released in 2005.
Sources say that a primary reason for Inferno's bankruptcy filing was a recent judgment against the company won by Mann. The judgment, apparently, threatened to put the production company out of business, so Inferno plans to appeal the decision.
The Chapter 11 filing is somewhat surprising given the young age of the production company, which has pledged to "emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger and healthier business enterprise."
According to sources, Inferno Distribution was founded in 2002, and Inferno International was started a few years later, in 2008. Both businesses make money by licensing and distributing the rights to movies in foreign countries.
Another source of revenue for the companies is coordinating with banks and private equity firms to raise funds for movie production. With Brad Pitt's new film, "Killing Them Softly," for example, Inferno offered its services as an executive producer and primary financier, while Pitt's own companies, Plan B Entertainment and Chockstone Pictures, served as producers.
In addition, two subsidiaries of the company, Inferno Films and Inferno Features, are not included in the recent bankruptcy filing, sources say.
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