Filmmaker claims he was cheated out of doc profits
Michael Moore’s Westside Prods. shingle on Monday sued Harvey and Bob Weinstein, alleging that the brothers engaged in “classic Hollywood accounting tricks” to cheat the director out of earnings for 2004 documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
“Although Westside and Moore delivered an award-winning film that achieved major box office success, (the Fellowship Adventure Group) has failed and refused to share equally the fruits of the venture as the partners had agreed,” Moore asserts in the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Director is seeking more than $2.7 million in damages.
“Michael believes the Weinsteins have been a force for good when it comes to championing independent film,” said Moore’s attorney, Larry Stein, in a statement. “But that does not give them the right to violate a contract and take money that isn’t theirs. … When this goes to discovery I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount of what was taken goes much, much higher.”
“It’s hogwash,” said Weinstein attorney Bert Fields, adding that he’ll look to take the case to trial. “Mr. Moore knows that he has received every dime to which he’s entitled. … I cannot wait to get Mr. Moore on the witness stand.”
Suit names Weinstein shingle the Fellowship Adventure Group as a defendant, as well as Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein individually. The Weinsteins set up the company after Disney refused to release “Fahrenheit” in 2004 through the Miramax banner, which the brothers headed at the time. Moore claimed that Disney did not want to be affiliated with the pic, which accused the Bush administration of mishandling the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, for political reasons.
Then-Disney chief exec Michael Eisner countered by saying that the Mouse House “did not want a film in the middle of the political process when (Disney is) such a nonpartisan company and (its) guests, that participate in all of (its) attractions, do not look for (the company) to take sides.”
“Fahrenheit” is the highest-grossing docu of all time, with more than $220 million.
In 2006, “The English Patient” producer Saul Zaentz sued Miramax, claiming that he’d been cheated out of about $20 million in profits from the film.