June 12, 2004

Gibson Takes a Swipe at Packer

Australia: Gibson is suing the company that distributed his snuff flick on the grounds that they gipped him out of his cut of the profits. Money certainly does speak louder than the tenets of the bloke he claims to venerate.

Jesus may have chased the money men out of the temple, but Mel Gibson claims they left without paying him a fortune in box office receipts.

Icon Distribution, Gibson's film company, is suing Regal Entertainment Group, the largest cinema company in the world, for $US40 million ($57.2 million) and as much as $US20 million in damages for allegedly reneging on a distribution contract for Gibson's film, The Passion of The Christ.

Icon claims that Regal, of which James Packer is a director, did not pay up its fair share of ticket revenue for the film, which beat all expectations when it opened to huge controversy in February.
The film made $US125million at its first weekend screening and took in about $US370million at the US box office.

Icon claims it had a standard agreement with Regal under so-called studio terms, which usually result in ticket sales being split 55 per cent to the distributor and 45per cent to the cinema chain. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Icon claims that Regal only paid it 34 per cent of the box-office receipts.

We have been low-balled and stonewalled by these guys, George Hedges, a lawyer acting for Gibson, told The Times.

They low-balled us with a 34 per cent deal and then stonewalled us by refusing to negotiate.

Mr Hedges said Gibson was very disappointed at being forced to take legal action and expected any final settlement, including damages, to reach as high as $US50million or $US60million.

The suit could trigger controversy because Icon wants to examine Regal's books on every ticket sale in every cinema it owns.

One source said that, when studio terms were applied, some ticket sales never made it into the final accounts but were left to fall by the wayside as part of the deal.

Regal declined to comment.

Mel's passion to sue cinemas for $57mThe Australian, 10th June 2004.

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This page contains a single entry by Red Wolf published on June 12, 2004 9:12 AM.

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