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Chicago producer sues Miramax for $10 million

Chicago producer sues Miramax for $10 million

Producer Marty 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.

Richards, who 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)

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