The Movie World's German Angels

German production companies are pouring money into big U.S. movies--with mixed results

Quick! who signs million-dollar paychecks for Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Dennis Quaid, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese? Would you believe a German company with a name that could come from a Mel Brooks farce? Cologne-based Splendid Media is co-producing the movie Traffic, which Zeta-Jones, Douglas and Quaid are filming. Splendid is also putting up $65 million of the $90 million needed for the Scorsese-DiCaprio movie The Gangs of New York. And if all goes according to plan, it will funnel more than $100 million into a series of co-productions with Zeta-Jones' production firm, Milkwood Films, over the next two years.

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