Cecchi Gori puts 700 films on the block

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ROME -- Italian producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori plans to auction the rights to more than 700 films he produced or to which he owns the Italian distribution rights.

Cecchi Gori, who declared bankruptcy in 2006, said Tuesday that the archive, which includes Oscar winners "Mediterraneo" and "Life Is Beautiful," is worth at least 40 million euros ($58.8 million), a figure based on a Rome court's assessment of the library.

The collection is estimated to include at least 150 films produced or co-produced by Cecchi Gori's company Finmavi, with the rest comprising distribution-rights pickups.

If the April sale goes through, it will be the second asset sale from Cecchi Gori in less than a year.

In March, the Florentine sold four-year broadcast rights to 138 films to Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset for a reported 6 million euros. But that sale, which was for temporary rights and did not include most of the best-known names in the Cecchi Gori stable, would be dwarfed in comparison to the latest proposal.
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