George Bush Presidential Library Objects to Netflix Settlement With Bankrupt Film Distributor

More information is demanded for what the streaming giant is paying for "41 on 41."
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Being the leader of the free world comes with some influence, but no one gets a shortcut to money in Hollywood. If proof is necessary, an objection filed in Delaware bankruptcy court Tuesday by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation should provide it.

The bankruptcy belongs to Alchemy, the distributor formerly known as Millennium Entertainment, which in July 2016 filed a Chapter 7 petition that listed more than $50 million in liabilities. 

Last month, George L. Miller, the Chapter 7 trustee, filed a motion to approve a deal reached with Netflix, which was seeking to terminate a license agreement. That the streaming giant aimed to get out of its licensing pact shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who followed the enormous lengths that Netflix went to escape a nine-figure pact in the bankruptcy of Relativity Media. (On Tuesday, Netflix suffered yet another loss in that battle at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.) 

The Netflix-Alchemy settlement provided that Netflix would pay almost $2.2 million for accrued unpaid license fees for the last six months of 2016 and almost $1.5 million for the continued rights to exploit certain films.

Some of the production companies are now objecting.

Among the objectors is the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation with regards to 41 on 41, a documentary film that featured such notables as Barbara Bush, Roger Ailes, James A. Baker III, Tom Brokaw, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush and Dana Carvey.

"While the Foundation does not necessarily oppose Netflix's continued use of the enforceable licenses to the Picture and other Titles, the Foundation does require the opportunity to review the specific Accrued Fee Payment as it relates to the fees generated by the use and distribution of the Picture," states the objection. "Also, the Stipulation provides that 'no underlying licensor or other party' shall have any claim against Netflix resulting from such payment to the Trustee, or from Netflix's past or future use of the Titles pursuant to the terms of the Distribution Agreements and this Stipulation."

The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation questions the authority that would bar any underlying licensor from pursuing a claim against Netflix.

That doesn't mean a lawsuit against Netflix would necessarily occur. But the Foundation wants more information before possibly making a bigger objection that could involve a dispute over Netlix's continued use of 41 on 41.

Although the Foundation doesn't spell out what's owed, according to a services agreement attached, Netflix's initial offer for 41 on 41 was $30,000 for three years.

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