I got there first when I reported here today that Randy Quaid is dropping his lawsuit over his teeny pay for his small supporting role in Brokeback Mountain. When I told Focus Features about it, a spokesperson said the studio “wasn’t aware of that.” Now, hours later, Focus Features officially confirms it after they received confirmation this evening from their counsel that Quaid has indeed dropped the suit: “The circumstances of him dropping the suit are as mysterious as the circumstances under which he filed his claim. Focus Features never negotiated, offered or agreed to any settlement agreement with Mr. Quaid or his attorneys, but we are happy to put this behind us, and do wish Mr. Quaid all the best.” (Confused? This is in response to Variety‘s report tonight claiming a “backdoor” deal between attorneys.)
The lawsuit grabbed a lot of headlines in March when it was filed because of the issue it raised: that little movie companies owned by big studios won’t spend a dime on talent yet spend huge bucks on marketing these “arthouse” films. Brokeback‘s production budget was very low, reportedly $14 million, but Focus, which is owned by Universal Studios, threw reportedly $30 million into marketing the film. Quaid’s complaint said the defendants, Focus and its recent co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus, ”have enriched themselves to the tune of approximately $160 million in worldwide gross box office receipts on the back of actors who were convinced to cut their fees purportedly to ensure that the film reached the screen.”
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