‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scribe Anthony McCarten sues producers for profits – deadline


EXCLUSIVE: Bohemian Rhapsody Screenwriter Anthony McCarten has filed a breach of contract complaint against Graham King and his GK films for money owed on the 2018 film nominated for Best Picture about Queen and her iconic singer Freddie Mercury.

The trial took place today and shows a fascinating behind-the-curtain glimpse that shows what happens when participants rely on the studio’s net point chords. The $ 55 million budgeted film grossed $ 911 million worldwide, and yet, according to financial statements released by the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Bohemian Rhapsody is in the red, to the tune of $ 51 million.

The lawsuit is a bit twisted, as producer King and his GK Films are named, but not Fox or Disney, who acquired the studio and owns Bohemian Rhapsody in its vast library. The reason is that McCarten’s lawsuit maintains that he made a deal directly with King to receive 5% of GK’s take. Eventually, King ceded all of those offers to Fox and now to Disney. McCarten maintains that the definitions of transaction accounting have changed and that he was not paid a dime from his backend contract and that King did not answer his calls to get paid.

This is an issue that CAA representative McCarten and his lawyers at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP want resolved with “damages in an amount to be proven at trial,” a full account of the film and “a judicial declaration of the contractual rights and duties of the parties under the writer’s agreement… By this action, McCarten seeks to force GK Films to keep its promise in the writer’s agreement”, says the 50-page case Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing the first of three deals the scribe struck with production company WAGW, Inc. in 2015 for an “amount equal to 5% of 100% of” net proceeds “.”

Fox boarded the biopic Queen in 2016, and the studio insists McCarten is only beholden for profits through his definition of “defined net proceeds,” rather than GK Films’ standard definition of “net proceeds.” , as modified by good faith negotiation.

Representatives for GK Films told Deadline that they believe Fox / Disney should be a part of this action and will contact them immediately to consult with them on future responses.

“Worse yet, it’s not even clear that GK Films ever had standard definition on any film,” says the record of attorneys Dale Kinsella and his partner Nicholas Soltman. The prosecution maintains that the parties did not intend to develop such a definition because it did not intend to “calculate[ing]’and’ determine[ing]“Net proceeds at all.

McCarten is one of the elite screenwriters of factual biographical images. Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Actor honors for Rami Malek and The theory of everything does the same for Eddie Redmayne and Darkest hour claimed the prize for Gary Oldman. More recently, The two popes won nominations for its stars Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. He has in preparation the film of Whitney Houston directed by Kasi Lemmons I want to dance with someone at Sony. He is a producer on this film. It has traditionally been rare for screenwriters to be able to receive gross remuneration, unless they are also producers or directors. This makes them vulnerable to the definition of the net, what Eddie Murphy called “monkey points” in a lawsuit against Paramount for Coming to America remaining in the red despite a turnover of 350 million dollars. In an even more egregious example, Deadline revealed a Warner Bros. income statement that claimed that despite Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix grossing $ 938 million, the film was $ 167 million in the red.

By the costume, while negotiating his fees for the film, McCarten planned a Coming to America scenario he is in now and believed that a solution had been agreed:

By the way here, by the time he made the writer’s deal, McCarten was aware of the reputation the big studios have for snatching losses from the jaws of profits, including by “defining” profits in the Byzantine way, and then by applying arbitrary and onerous distribution fees. overhead, etc. At the same time, McCarten knew that independent producers, such as GK Films, which had funded the $ 156-170 million Hugo, among other mid to big budget projects, offered a little less money up front than the big studios, but more favorable backend definitions. GK Films, for its part, has embraced the reputation. For example, at the end of the negotiations, when he was frustrated with the low fixed fees that would inspire the cover letter, McCarten called Denis O’Sullivan, then an executive at GK Films. O’Sullivan told McCarten, “The number is what it is, but Graham wants me to tell you that like he did with Cameron Diaz on New York gangs, he will take care of you successfully.

McCarten, not an industry naïve, understood what Graham was telling him, and what he
did not tell him. “He” – Graham King, not Fox, and no other studio – was going to make up for the low fixed costs by paying for it on the backend. But only “in success”. In this context, it made perfect sense that the definition should be that of GK Films and that the “net proceeds” be that of GK Films. Put simply, McCarten understood that GK Films’ “net” revenue would actually look like 5% of what GK Films did in the image – the difference between actual and “net” GK Films revenue being the royalty. of personal video and its unrecovered development expenses (if any). And there was no doubt that GK Films’ definition of “net income” would be more favorable to it than what one major studio called its definition of net income.

Representatives for Disney, which has taken over the assets and obligations of Fox, did not respond to requests for comment.


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