The Twilight Saga films may be over, but the battle for money from the blockbuster franchise is not. Financier Goldcrest Film Distribution hit Summit today with a multimillion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit (read it here) over the movies. “As a direct result of Defendant’s deceptive accounting practices in which it systematically understates the Twilight revenues and overstates its costs, however, Goldcrest has received many millions of dollars less than it is due,” says the heavily redacted document filed today in LA Superior Court. The plaintiff says they are trying “to recover several million dollars in payments” from the more than $392 million that the first Twilight made worldwide. In a 2008 sub-distribution deal Goldcrest says in the filing it agreed to front Summit and others $10 million for four films based on the bestselling vampire books by Stephenie Meyer. For the upfront payment, the London-based financier was to get a hefty slice of the pics’ global net revenue.
Obviously that didn’t happen to Goldcrest’s satisfaction with what they allege are fast and loose moves on the part of Summit, now a Lionsgate subsidiary. “We uncovered numerous improper accounting charges, including retroactive ‘bonuses’ paid to actors Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson after Twilight was released, which were not due under their agreements. These bonuses were paid and charged back to Goldcrest long after Twilight was completed,” said Goldcrest attorney Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis in a statement after the case was filed (Kirkland & Ellis’ Sierra Elizabeth is also repping Goldcrest). Stewart and Pattinson were paid total bonuses of $2.5 million each while screenplay writer Melissa Rosenberg and Meyer got $500,000 each, the 12-page complaint claims. With that said, Goldcrest, in today’s breach of contract and declaratory relief filing, wants unspecified compensatory and actual damages as well as restitution, a court declaration of its rights, legal fees and 10% statutory interest from the time of the breach. It is seeking a jury trial.
It has to bite for Summit, no vampire pun absolutely intended.