The toon ursine star of Paddington 2 finds himself in legal trouble during the film, and now the pic has created an international incident of sorts. Entertainment One Canada is suing the Weinstein Company and its global distribution unit for more than $7 million, claiming they reneged on a deal to release the film the Great White North.
In a filing Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), eOne Canada details its 2006 output deal with Weinstein Global Film Distribution, which has been renewed about a half-dozen times. Then the suit says eOne was passed over for Canadian distribution of the film in favor of Warner Bros Pictures and its affiliated entities.
“In or around June 2017,” the suit says, “WGFC communicated to eOne that the motion picture Paddington 2 made available to it for distribution pursuant to the Output Agreement. Immediately thereafter, WGFC began providing materials to eOne for the marketing and distribution of Paddington 2. In or around July 2017, WGFC and eOne collaborated regarding release dates and trailer placement for Paddington 2. Throughout the summer and fall of 2017, the parties continued to perform under the Output Agreement in connection with Paddington 2, resulting in eOne devoting significant financial and other resources to the performance of its obligations.”
It adds: “eOne is informed and believes that, in or about November 2017, Defendants sold the United States and Canadian distribution rights for Paddington 2 to Warner and/or authorized a transaction whereby the United States and Canadian distribution rights were transferred to Warner.
“Shortly after the sale was publicized,” the filing alleges, “Robert Weinstein, then head of TWC, apologized to Patrick Roy, a division president of eOne, for the sale of Paddington 2 and acknowledged that WGFC would need to compensate eOne for its loss of Paddington 2 as a result of the sale.
“WGFC did not cure its failure to make Paddington 2 available for J distribution as required [by the output deal].”
The company said it terminated its output deal with WGFC on December 31. About three weeks later, “eOne presented WGFC an invoice in the amount of $7,213,934.31, representing the balance of the Master Advance. Pursuant to … the Output Agreement, WGFC had five business days to pay eOne the balance of the Master Advance. WGFC failed to pay eOne the outstanding balance of the Master Advance as required.”
Demanding a jury trial, the suit seeks payment of the $7.21 million advance plus costs, fees and interest. Attorneys Martin D. Katz and Bridget J. Russell of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in Los Angeles are representing the plaintiffs in the case.