A group of prominent actors, directors and producers are seeking to recover profit participation payments that the indie studio owes for their work on four films, Silver Linings Playbook, St. Vincent, August: Osage County and Scary Movie 5.
This group, which includes Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, argues that Lantern couldn’t assume the contracts for these films without saying what they’ll do to clear up these old debts.
Collectively, these stars are owed millions of dollars.
Lantern, which acquired TWC’s film and television assets in a $289 million deal supervised by the bankruptcy court, argued it’s only liable for payments going forward. It brought suit against Silver Linings Playbook producer Bruce Cohen as a test case, to clarify the issue.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Mary Walrath sided with Lantern’s interpretation, on Monday granting a summary judgment in favor of the young studio. She ruled that Lantern’s acquisition of Cohen’s contract doesn’t obligate it to pay off TWC’s unpaid bills (estimated at around $405,000).
“We are pleased that the court upheld the treatment of these agreements consistent with Lantern Entertainment’s acquisition of these assets,” said a Lantern spokesperson. “We look forward to turning the focus to fostering productive relationships with all talent and industry partners.”
That ruling likely will have implications for Cooper and others, who are attempting to collect unpaid royalties. These prominent Hollywood figures may well end up joining other unsecured creditors — a group that includes Harvey Weinstein’s accusers — seeking to recover whatever they can from the assets of the bankrupt The Weinstein Co.