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Litigation becomes Force theme

By Aimee McClinchy

Friday 9th June 2000

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Listed cinema company Force Corporation is being sued by the Australian construction firm which built novelty themed rooms at its Auckland Planet Hollywood restaurant. Themepark specialist Attraction Technology Australia has filed a statement of claim against Force Corporation in the Auckland High Court.

It is chasing up to $400,000 it says is owed in unpaid work for building features including a space pod and submarine.

There is a dispute as to whether it is Force or its main contractor, Watts & Hughes Construction, which is liable.

Force is the majority owner of Planet Hollywood with partner Planet Hollywood Asia, and it owns the entertainment centre in which the restaurant is housed.

Force company secretary Peter Holdaway said the company did not want to comment on the action.

Force is also engaged in a legal battle with Australian-based MTM Entertainment Trust, which was to buy the centre but is seeking to recover its $50 million loan after the centre was not completed on time.

Despite this, Todd Graydon, general manager of Planet Hollywood, said the restaurant was popular, attracting 10,000 visitors a week. He said it was hitting all its projections and its part-owner, Planet Hollywood International, had come out of chapter 11 in the US, he said.

Force joint managing director Derek Presland said the rest of the complex was doing well with statistics showing 30,000-40,000 people a week visited.

Mr Presland said Imax had been trading well unlike its troubled parent company Cinema Plus in Australia. Last week Cinema Plus was put into liquidation.

Meanwhile, Force has declined to comment on claims from other listed companies including RadioWorks that it had been looking for another partner. There had also been suggestions Force and Ihug were looking at reviving their merger plan but Mr Holdaway discounted that.

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