Richards won an Oscar for the 2002 movie Chicago but
claims to have lost millions in royalties and is suing
Miramax Films to get his hands on the cash. Richards
charged in the suit, filed on Monday in Manhattan supreme
court, that Miramax, which then was run by brothers
Harvey and Bob Weinstein, used fuzzy Hollywood
accounting to cheat him out of his share of revenues
generated by the film, which he claimed raked in more than
$300 million overall.
The film cost
about $57 million to make and took in $170 million at U.S.
and Canadian box offices, the suit said. A Miramax
representative could not be reached for comment.
also produced Chicago on Broadway in 1975,
bought the film rights for $500,000, which was paid
back by Miramax, and he earned a $300,000 producer's fee for
the film. The out producer claims he is owed more
money from "contingent compensation" based on a
percentage of the gross revenues.
The suit charged
Miramax, which is now owned and operated by the Walt
Disney Co., with failing to include revenue related to video
and DVD sales, ignoring gross receipts from foreign
box offices, and overstating overhead and interest
charges by using accounting tricks. The suit claims
Hollywood accounting is notorious for shortchanging people
with such contingent compensation. "Contingent
compensation accounting, reigned in only by the
avarice of the studios and the leverage they hold over the
talent they hire, is opaque, confusing, and leads to
patently absurd results," the suit said. (Reuters)