This fall will mark 24 years since the sci-fi action flick Demolition Man hit theaters, but Sylvester Stallone has just filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. Pictures for “intentional dishonesty” in their accounting, thereby keeping some of the profits that are owed to the actor and his loan-out company Rogue Marble.
Why is this lawsuit being raised so long after the movie was released? Sylvester Stallone thinks the time is right to make a stink about this that will hopefully set a precedent to force reportedly notoriously dishonest “Hollywood Accounting” to give talent and production companies what’s owed to them.
The Hollywood Reporter highlights this part of the legal complaint, which lays out how shifty Warner Bros. was being about honoring their agreement to give Rogue Marble the profits they’re owed:
“The motion picture studios are notoriously greedy. This one involves outright and obviously intentional dishonesty perpetrated against an international iconic talent. Here, WB decided it just wasn’t going to account to Rogue Marble on the Film. WB just sat on the money owed to Rogue Marble for years and told itself, without any justification, that Rogue Marble was not owed any profits. When a representative of Rogue Marble asked for an accounting, WB balked and then sent a bogus letter asserting the Film was $ 66,926,628 unrecouped. When challenged about this false accounting, it made a double-talk excuse, then prepared an actual profit participation statement for the same reporting period, and sent a check for $ 2,820,000 because the Film had in fact recouped its deficit.”
Sylvester Stallone’s deal gave him 15% of defined gross if the film hit the $ 125 million in profits, 17.5% at $ 200 million and 20% at $ 250 million. We’re not just talking box office, but home video sales as well. Since Demolition Man earned at least $ 125 million, Stallone just wants the 15% that he’s owed.
The biggest problem seems to be that the studio didn’t go out of their way to make sure Stallone and Rogue Marble received the profit participation statements that kept them abreast of the numbers. They hadn’t received any updates since 1997, and just a few years ago, decided to ask for an update. But the numbers they received didn’t make any sense, and then a follow-up resulted in the aforementioned $ 2.8 million check.
Stallone is looking for restitution for Warner Bros. deception, but he’s also pushing forth a fraud claim looking for separate and greater damages, saying the studio “misrepresented and intentionally concealed facts” to create this situation. That part of the lawsuit seems to be the portion that aims to expose the shady accounting practices of Hollywood at large, and I’m not sure how effective that will be.
Anyway, for those interested, you can read the full legal complaint right here. It’s just a shame there’s not a Judge Dredd lawsuit so we could have some fun law wordplay.
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