£7.6 million is written off over Zac Efron movie

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MORE than £10.5 million of investment in the Manx movie industry has been written off, MHKs were told this week.

Further details were released in the House of Keys about the investments made by CinemaNX after it emerged Treasury had approved funding of nearly £34 million on 13 film projects since 2007 – but the island’s movie industry brought in only £6.3 million of income in that time.

Figures released by Treasury Minister Anne Craine in the Keys show that of the investments totalling £33,887,401 had been made by CinemaNX, by far the biggest sum – £11,723,782 – had gone on the production of Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron and released in December 2009.

But the same movie also accounted for the biggest investment write-off – £7,599,980 out of total write-offs of £10,575,577.

Receipts totalling £1,936,857 had been made from Me and Orson Welles.

CinemaNX invested £2,911,000 in A Bunch of Amateurs, starring Burt Reynolds and released in December 2008, but had to write off most of that money – £2,258,031.

That film has brought in receipts of just £524,319 so far from CinemaNX.

The remaining write-off concerned the 2010 film Heartless, in which £1,415,000 had been invested. Heartless has made £538,789 for CinemaNX but £717,566 had to be written off.

Mrs Craine, who was replying to a series of questions from Peter Karran (LibVan, Onchan) also provided details of directorships in Isle of Man Film Ltd and CinemaNX.

She insisted none of the directors associated with Isle of Man Film Ltd had received any fees or emoluments and nor had Treasury financial controller Clive McGreal, who is director of CinemaNX.

There were calls in Tynwald in December for more scrutiny of the film industry after the public accounts committee presented a report. Public accounts committee chairman Clare Christian MLC said the fund’s ‘modest’ aim was to break even.

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