Peter Jackson suing New Line

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by kartaron, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,287
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -0
    Spotted in The Hollywood Reporter apparently directly from AP:

    The Associated Press says that director Peter Jackson’s production company, Wingnut Films, has sued New Line Cinema over profits from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

    The first LOTR film earned US$314.8mil at the North American box office and US$556.6mil internationally.

    In the federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, the company alleges New Line and its subsidiary, Katia Motion Pictures, failed to properly calculate revenue, including money from DVD sales.

    The company also alleges that New Line Cinema gave favourable treatment to its affiliates in negotiating licensing deals for the movie. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

    theonering.net

    This is similar to a situation between Robert Zemeckis and Paramount Pictures over the Forrest Gump profits.
     
  2. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,287
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -0
    Jackson's production company, Wingnut Films, is suing New Line and its subsidiary Katja Motion Pictures, for allegedly failing to account for profits from the first film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

    A film industry expert believes the claim could run to tens of millions of dollars, with any outcome being used to settle claims for the two other Rings movies.

    Papers filed in the Los Angeles federal court reveal Wingnut agreed to cut its normal fees in half to get its share of gross receipts for all three films.

    Yet, Jackson's lawsuit claims that New Line:

    * Sold the film for less than market rate, enabling New Line to pocket "secret profits".

    * Entered into sweetheart deals with affiliates, short-changing Wingnut.

    * Improperly charged expenses to the film and allowed subsidiaries to charge higher than market fees.

    * Failed to pay for the right to use Fran Walsh's lyrics in video games and refused to share earnings from the sale of soundtrack albums.

    * Duped Wingnut into agreeing to a deal that capped its pay television earnings.

    Ben Fritz, film reporter for Hollywood trade magazine Variety, said the fact a lawsuit had been laid indicated a lot of money was at stake.

    Wingnut also alleges New Line actively prevented the New Zealand company from discovering its wrongdoing and its actions were "wilful, wanton, malicious, oppressive, fraudulent". Jackson's company now demands a jury trial to decide the matter.

    It also demands the appointment of a receiver to oversee all future distribution of the film's revenues, the imposition of a trust for Wingnut's share of revenues, and a permanent injunction against New Line. The suit does not specify the amount sought in damages, but demands exemplary and punitive damages, as well as interest on any compensation awarded by the court.

    Papers state the film grossed more than $US314 million (about $NZ440m) at the United States box office and more than $US556m overseas, plus revenue from video and merchandise sales.

    Sources said court action was not uncommon in the film world, where "creative accounting" allowed movie companies to claim films had not made profits.

    Kiwi director Gaylene Preston, who directed Perfect Strangers, said producers often had to resort to lawyers to get studios to cough up.

    "Studios use myriads of ways of making sure that when the money flows it flows down their rivers and streams and into their little sludgy creeks rather than back to the producer," she said.

    "They get away with it a lot of the time because people can't afford to sue them. It's a lawyers' game."

    Wingnut Films declined to comment on the lawsuit, but Jackson's lawyer, Peter Nelson, said attempts to resolve differences with New Line Cinema had proven unsatisfactory. "This lawsuit is the logical next step."

    New Line spokesman Richard Socarides would say only that it was company policy not to comment on pending litigation.

    The case could be precedent-setting if Wingnut Films wins, at least making Hollywood contracts tougher, but was unlikely to damage Jackson's career, Fritz said.

    "Peter Jackson is one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood still," he said. "If it turns out New Line has treated his company badly it will hurt them more. You don't want a reputation for screwing over your talent."

    stuff.co.nz