Hannibal Pictures e-mail in response to Yakuza

I e-mailed Hannibal pictures a few hours ago & they very kindly got back with this response.

Our Yakuza now known as "Katana" has absolutely nothing to do with Steven Seagal.

You will need to verify with Franchise Pictures, but his Yakuza is now supposedly called Into The Sun.So for information on Into The Sun you should contact them.

Our Yakuza aka Katana was up on IMDB long before Steven Seagal's. We have been trying to clear this up with IMDB for a while now. Apparently his people went in after us and added to our listing that was already posted.What they should have done was add an entirely new listing.This should all be corrected within the next two weeks.

On Monday, August 18, 2003, at 01:08 PM, justice 808 wrote:


Our site is: www.steven-seagal.net.

We basically want to give out the proper info regarding Seagal's new film Yakuza.We understand if you're not able to give us this information.We also do alot in the way of promotion for his future films.

Best regards,


From: Contact Us <contactus@hannibalpictures.com>
To: "justice 808" <justice808@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Need help with Yakuza info
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 13:00:36 -0700

Who are you and why are you requesting this information. We are not in the business of providing random people with information regarding our films.

On Monday, August 18, 2003, at 11:42 AM, justice 808 wrote:

Dear Sir,

Firstly let me say how impressed we are with your company,and that we look forward very much to all your forthcoming films.

There seems to be a lot of confusion over at www.steven-seagal.net about a film you have in production called Yakuza.I wonder if you would be so kind as to answer a few questions we have in regards to this film?We can then give an update on this film and inform all the Seagal fans.

We have checked the likes of www.imdb.com but your site info is different to the imdb info.

Q1:Is this film set to star Steven Seagal,and when is filming due to begin?

Q2:Will this film also be distributed by Franchise Pictures?

Q3:It was reported in the trades that Steven Seagal has another Yakuza-based film,Into The Sun,that he wrote himself.Is this a title change for Yakuza or a seperate film alltogether?

Q4:What is the budget for this film?

Q5:Will Yakuza be a stv or Theatrical release??

Q6:Do you know who else is in the cast besides Seagal ?

Thank-you for your time.

We wish Hannibal Pictures all the best with your future films & productions.

Best regards,

Leon(steven-seagal.net member)


Staff member
Oi, that's confusing. So, Steven's picture is called Into the Sun, definitely and for sure? Okay. I guess the next thing is to contact Franchise Pictures with the same set of questions (slightly modified now that we've got "Yakuza" and "Into the Sun" sorted out) and get them to clarify things. What do you think?

-TD, getting dizzy from all of the inaccurate information out there
Yep,Seagal's Yakuza film is called "Into The Sun" and has nothing to to with "Yakuza"(aka "Katana")from Hanninbal Pictures.I'm sure this will please Mike etc.

So,anyone up to contacting Franchise Pictures?


New Member
Thanks Leon.

Just think, between "The Patriot" and "Exit Wounds", Seagal did'nt release a film for four years. Now he's he got so many film in the works(there seems to be a new one every month), we can't keep track of them.

There definatly needs to be some clarrification regarding his other films as the details of them are sketchy from what ever source they originate from.




Couldn't find a site for Franchise, either, but did find this bit of info. Sorry it doesn't help any, but it's kind of interesting. - Serena.

Elie Samaha is Chairman/CEO of Franchise Pictures, which has fast become one of the most prolific production and co-financing companies in the entertainment industry. Under his leadership, Franchise Pictures will finance and distribute over a dozen films this year alone.
In a three and a half-year period, Samaha has built Franchise into a powerful mini-studio with mainstream films populated by the industry's biggest box-office stars. They include Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Costner, Danny DeVito, John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone, Sean Penn, Cameron Diaz, Wesley Snipes, Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey.

Franchise Pictures has instituted a domestic distribution arrangement with Warner Bros. Pictures, which began with the popular comedy The Whole Nine Yards, starring Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, released on February 18, 2000. Other films released through Warner Bros. Pictures include Art of War, starring Wesley Snipes; The Pledge, starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Sean Penn; Heist, starring Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and written and directed by David Mamet; and The In-Laws, starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks. Currently in production is David Mamet's next film (currently untitled), starring Val Kilmer and William H. Macy.

Other Franchise fare distributed domestically through Warner Bros. Pictures includes Luis Mandoki's Angel Eyes, with Jennifer Lopez and Jim Caviezel; 3,000 Miles to Graceland, starring Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner; Driven, starring Sylvester Stallone; FearDotCom, starring Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone and Stephen Rea; City by the Sea, directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand and James Franco; and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, starring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu. Slated for release in 2003 are Sound of Thunder, starring Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, and Sir Ben Kinglsey; and The Whole Ten Yards, starring Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis.

Franchise operates a classics division which has recently produced and distributed films including The Green Dragon, starring Patrick Swayze and Forest Whitaker; Caveman's Valentine, starring Samuel L. Jackson; Rodrigo Garcia's Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, featuring Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Amy Brenneman and Cameron Diaz, which won the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival; and The Big Kahuna, starring Danny DeVito and Kevin Spacey.

Franchise retains foreign rights to all its films and operates as a full-service international sales company encompassing distribution, marketing and delivery, with output deals covering territories worldwide. Samaha has shepherded an extensive list of films towards release for the coming year through Franchise Pictures.


Sleeping Fox said:
dont forget they produced The BoonDock Saints

You're right about that. I wonder why it wasn't listed in the article. I know it was produced by Samaha, I think in 1999, but was he with Franchise at that time?
justice808 said:
Yep,Seagal's Yakuza film is called "Into The Sun" and has nothing to to with "Yakuza"(aka "Katana")from Hanninbal Pictures.I'm sure this will please Mike etc.

So,anyone up to contacting Franchise Pictures?

If this is the case Into the Sun has nothing to do with the first Yakuza film released in 1974 and will be another Yakuza film written by Seagal..
Is it still gonna be the same lame plot that imdb is reporting(opposite warring family bosses fall in love in the middle of conflict)..I surely hope not-and Into the Sun has a budget of 20 million and not the 35 million that was originally set up for Yakuza according to the latest release that we saw...
At this rate we will soon have a new director and new stunt and fight directors as well..
I'm beginning to think that this will not end up the picture that we were all so looking forward to..
Unleashed and Out of Reach now have bigger budgets than Yakuza/Into the Sun and I dont think either one of those first two will be theatrical releases..


Staff member
One interesting item no one's mentioned is that Elie Samaha is "co-operating" with the feds on something. Gosh, I can't find the reference now, and I can't remember if it was about questionable accounting practices or more rubbish with organised crime. I remember thinking when I read the reference poor Steven can't win for losing when it comes to studios and producers.


Funny you mentioned that, TD. I came across these when I was looking at Franchise. They are from last year, but I wonder if they're what you're thinking of. The first few paragraphs were about Seagal, Nasso, the Gambino enforcer, blah, blah... so I left those out. - Serena

Seagal Turns Tables on Ex-Producer
by Mark Armstrong, Jun 5, 2002, 10:40 AM PT

Meanwhile, Nasso isn't the only Hollywood producer in hot water. The FBI is currently investigating producer Elie Samaha and his Franchise Pictures--though it's not because he was responsible for such stinkers as Battlefield Earth, 3,000 Miles to Graceland and Get Carter.

The feds are looking into fraud allegations involving budgets for many of its movies, following a civil suit filed by its former partner, Germany-based Intertainment. (Though the FBI isn't commenting, Daily Variety quotes sources who say the investigation is related to Intertainment's lawsuit.)

For its part, the company claims Franchise Pictures grossly inflated the budgets for its films. Intertainment's deal with Franchise allegedly fell apart in 2000 when it realized that the company padded the budgets of at least 10 films, totaling some $100 million.

Samaha's attorney told Variety the producer is cooperating with the investigation.


Press Release
Court Upholds Intertainment's RICO Claims Against Franchise, Samaha and Stevens.
Franchise And Its Principals Face Potential Liability of Over $ 225 Million

Ismaning near Munich, May 23, 2002 - A federal district court judge today issued a ruling upholding the pleading of two of the three RICO claims brought by Intertainment Licensing GmbH against Franchise Pictures and its principals, Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens. RICO stands for "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act" and outlaws criminal acts which constitute a pattern of racketeering activity. It provides for treble damages and attorneys' fees.

In its lawsuit, Intertainment alleges that Franchise and its principals, submitted fraudulently inflated budgets to Intertainment, a European film distributor, on over ten pictures, which resulted in Intertainment paying sometimes nearly twice the 47% of each budget that the film distributor was supposed to pay in exchange for European distribution rights. Films at issue include "Whole Nine Yards", starring Bruce Willis, "3000 Miles to Graceland", starring Kevin Costner, "Get Carter" starring Sylvester Stallone, "The Pledge" with Jack Nicholson, and "Angel Eyes" with Jennifer Lopez, and are being distributed domestically and internationally by Warner Bros.

In addition to finding that a criminal enterprise had been appropriately pled against Franchise, Samaha and Stevens, the court also upheld the allegation of a criminal enterprise involving Imperial Bank (now Comerica Bank) and WorldWide Film Completion, Inc., finding that "there are sufficient specific facts outlining third parties Imperial Bank and WorldWide's involvement in the fraudulent scheme."

In particular, the court stated that "[t]he enterprise knew the inflated budgets would be presented to plaintiff, and the inferences, construed favourably to the complaint, suggest that third parties Imperial Bank and WorldWide had the requisite experience in funding and insuring film production that would allow them to recognize an inflated budget and participate in the computation of movie budgets and bonds."

Intertainment seeks in excess of $75 million in damages, but as a result of the ruling, Franchise and its principals now face treble damages of over $225 million plus attorneys' fees. Intertainment CEO, Barry Baeres, praised the ruling as "carefully written and reasoned." "We are vindicated by the conclusion reached by the judge."

In other developments, on April 29, 2002, Intertainment sought to attach $25 million in Franchise assets, and to unseal the Franchise budgets it claims are phony but which Franchise has designated as confidential and has filed under seal so as to prevent public viewing. Those motions remain under submission, but a ruling is expected soon. The trial is scheduled for November 19, 2002.


By the way, Leon, thanks for all the time and effort you spent obtaining the information from Hannibal.


Staff member
Yes, thank you, Leon! Good work. I'm glad they answered you, though I was a bit concerned with their initial snippy response.

Isn't Franchise a sub of Warner's? Is there some way we can hunt them down through that route?