Spring break is over, but the party hasn’t stopped for Spring Breakers. No, I’m not talking about the proposed sequel of sorts that Wild Bunch reportedly is bringing to Cannes this year. Instead, today an early investor in the Harmony Korine-directed 2013 bacchanalia has sued the producers for at least $1.39 million in damages over profits and monies due from the pic. “On or about February 16, 2012, Walker entered into a written contract with SBLLC (Spring Breakers LLC) whereby Walker put up $700,000.00 in financing for Spring Breakers in exchange for certain rights, including without limitation certain repayment and credit rights,” claims the 26-page Breach of Written Contract complaint (read it here) from Wicks Walker and his Division Films. The complaint names as defendants producers Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner and their Muse Productions from the movie starring James Franco and Selena Gomez.
The filing also claims that the duo’s Muse Productions dropped the ball on the potential profits for the $5 million-budgeted pic, which made $31.7 million worldwide. “Defendants opted to give a sweetheart deal to A24 while rejecting a substantially better offer on the table from [the] Weinstein [Company],” says the filing in LA Superior Court. Walker says Harvey and Bob offered an upfront $2.25 minimum guaranteed return to investors while A24 offered nothing but went on wild P&A spending spree and side-deals that “the Weinstein offer would not have permitted.”
Alleging he was pressured by the duo to sign a deal for the dough or the pic would lose any chance at getting Franco, Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson as stars, newbie investor Walker claims he was promised a “right to full repayment” plus a 20% premium from the revenues of Spring Breakers, an EP credit and a full accounting. Walker’s filing today says he got the credit but none of the cash except a $483,773 tax credit. And, as today’s sometimes-convoluted 7-claim complaint shows, he wants the books on Spring Breakers opened up so he can see what he says he’s owed.
“The reason why Walker’s investment was not repaid was not because the Picture was not successful – it was extremely successful – but because the Defendants, who are the principal producers of the Picture, chose – rather than protecting the interests of the investors – to engage in a campaign of siphoning off revenues earned from the Picture that otherwise would have gone to Walker and the other investors and entering into side agreements and sweetheart deals for the benefit of themselves and their friends and business associates,” says the filing from attorneys Greg Fayer and Phu Nguyen of LA firm Fayer Gipson LLP. Additionally financing deals that Muse engaged in seem to have also watered down the return, according to the complaint.
Walker is seeking a jury trial. If he gets it, perhaps Franco or the Weinsteins would be called as witnesses — that would be quite the show.