'Ace Ventura' Film Company Seeks Protection in U.S.

Inverness Distribution Ltd, formerly Morgan Creek International Ltd., claims revenue from film and TV rights was down 36%-71% from normal levels in 2010 Q4.

NEW YORK -- The Bermuda-based company that holds the rights to the films Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Last of the Mohicans asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday to recognize it as insolvent, citing $74 million in debt.

Inverness Distribution Ltd, formerly Morgan Creek International Ltd, filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, seeking recognition of its ongoing insolvency proceeding in Bermuda.

Filed under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the petition would officially recognize the company's foreign bankruptcy and protect it from parties looking to seize its assets in the U.S.

KPMG Advisory Ltd, appointed by the Bermuda insolvency court in February to liquidate Inverness' assets, filed the petition.

Inverness said it is more than $74 million in debt on a $150 million loan from Societe Generale, Santander U.K. Plc., ING Bank NV and others, according to the court papers.

The company cited a dramatic and unexplained decline in revenues collected from movie studios in exchange for television and video rights, saying revenues were 36% to 71% lower than normal in the last quarter of 2010.

Producer James G. Robinson, Inverness' only shareholder, produced Ace Ventura, Last of the Mohicans, Young Guns and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

He had been slated to back a third film in the popular Major League series that would star embattled actor Charlie Sheen, but backpedaled in February, saying he would not risk casting Sheen unless the actor improved his public image.

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Sheen made headlines earlier in the year after a series of insulting rants and erratic behavior prompted his firing from the hit TV show Two and a Half Men.

An attorney for the liquidating agents declined to comment.

The case is In re Inverness Distribution Ltd, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-12106.