It’s been three months since Arnon Milchan’s Regency Entertainment sued Warren Beatty and others for breach of contract over the filmmaker’s underperforming 2016 pic Rules Don’t Apply. Now the legal pendulum is swinging the other way.
In a $50 million cross-complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), an investment group that includes Brett Ratner, Ron Burkle and Steve Bing alleges that producer Milchan defrauded them by failing to promote and market the film — leading to “its disastrous box office results and the loss of cross-complainants’ entire investment.”
Director Beatty’s first feature since 1998’s Bulworth grossed lest than $4 million worldwide after its November 16, 2016, release via Fox. The filmmaker also starred alongside Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins and Annette Bening.
The suit claims that in 2013, before any contracts were signed, Milchan told the investment group’s principals that he was putting up part of the $30 million production cost, and that the parties entered into an oral contract. “In that contract,” the suit alleges, “Milchan promised that, if cross-complaintants and their fellow investors agreed to put up the rest of the cost of production, Milchan would actively function as lead producer of the Picture,” along with supervising its marketing and distribution, “stay in regular and meaningful consultation with Beatty” throughout production and marketing/distribution.
That, the countersuit alleges, didn’t happen — despite the investors putting up $27 million of the $30 million production cost. “Milchan totally failed and refused to function as producer of the Picture … for example, never attending any filming session, going only once to the editing rooms, sleeping through the only screening of the Picture he attended before the editing was completed, and turning over supervision of the film’s marketing and distribution to his son, Yariv Milchan, who had neither the experience nor the skill necessary to perform those critical functions.”
It adds: “The picture was soo poorly and ineffectively marketed that it had a disastrous public ‘unaided awareness’ score of only 1% at the time of its release.”
Bert Fields of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP in