You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Grimaldi files ‘Gangs’ suit over credits

Producer attempting to prevent release of pic

Producer Alberto Grimaldi and his Gotham-based P.E.A. Films have filed a $10 million lawsuit against AMG, Michael Ovitz, the Walt Disney Co., Universal and Initial Entertainment Group, charging each with breach of contract over a producing credit on Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited “Gangs of New York.”

The suit was filed last week in New York’s Federal Court.

Grimaldi, the pic’s producer, was integrally involved in setting the film up at U, but Disney subsequently developed the pic without Grimaldi’s input. He claims that he was granted sole producing credit, but Disney, AMG and Ovitz later pressed to get Scorsese a shared producing credit.

Injunction sought

The plaintiffs seek an injunction against the defendants, preventing the release of the film, as well as monetary damages of more than $10 million dollars; they also seek to reclaim the rights to the film, which is budgeted at close to $100 million (the lion’s share of which is to be financed through IEG).

“Gangs,” set in New York during the peak of Tammany Hall’s political corruption and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as one of Gotham’s original gangsters, was scheduled to begin production in April in Rome and New York.

The suit also names as defendants the film’s international distributors, including Shochiku Films, M6 Music, CLT/Ufa Intl., RCV 2001, Scholar Films and Splendid Film Klein.

Rights dispute

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs also claim that, as part of their initial agreement with Universal Pictures, both parties agreed that if the film was not in active development for more than six consecutive months, pic would be deemed abandoned. The plaintiffs claim that under that original agreement, the rights to “Gangs” should have reverted back to P.E.A. after a period of inactivity ending on Oct. 6, 1997.

According to the plaintiffs, Universal advised P.E.A. that it had assigned all rights to the project to Disney. In various communications with P.E.A., Disney represented that it had resumed active development by Nov. 8, 1997. But, according to the suit, P.E.A. believes “these representations were false and made with the specific intent to deny P.E.A. its right of reversion.”

Original pact questioned

Also at issue is the original agreement between P.E.A. and Universal, which assigned Grimaldi sole producer credit. The plaintiffs claim that Disney, AMG and Ovitz are in violation of the plaintiff’s rights for demanding that Grimaldi should share producing credit with Scorsese, Barbara De Fina or their production company, Cappa Prods. AMG reps Scorsese and DiCaprio.

The project, which has been in development since early 1991, was set back in November when Robert De Niro dropped out for personal reasons.

Grimaldi’s producing credits include “Last Tango in Paris,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Satyricon.”

Scorsese was not available for comment. Universal Pictures declined comment.

AMG, IEG, Disney and Michael Ovitz could not be reached.

P.E.A. and Grimaldi are repped by Ronald S. Taft and Porzio, Bromberg and Newman.

(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)

More Biz

  • Tommy Thayer, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer,

    Kiss Reveal Final Dates of ‘End of the Road’ Farewell Tour

    Just hours after cancelling their Australia tour due to Paul Stanley’s bout with influenza, Kiss have announced the “last legs” of their “End of the Road” farewell tour. According to the announcement, the trek will officially come to a close on July 21, 2021 at a location in the band’s hometown of New York City [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Joins MasterClass Roster for Course on Business Strategy and Leadership

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has signed on to the MasterClass digital education service, offering a course in business strategy and leadership. The course, available as of Thursday, will detail Iger’s view on the importance of taking bold steps and embracing mistakes in business. Iger also promises to dig into “case studies” of some of Disney’s [...]

  • Viacom Chief Bob Bakish Talks Paramount's

    Viacom Chief Bob Bakish Talks Paramount's Rebound, Pluto TV Growth

    Viacom chief Bob Bakish took a short victory lap on Thursday during the company’s final quarterly earnings call before the completion of its merger with CBS Corp., which is expected to be sealed early next month. Bakish talked up the return of Paramount Pictures to profitability for the first time in four years, and the [...]

  • Imax logo

    Imax China Hires Edwin Tan as CEO

    Former conferences and exhibitions executive Edwin Tan has been appointed CEO of Imax China. He replaces Jiande Chen, who now becomes vice chairman of the company, having headed the company since its inception in 2011. Tan was previously CEO of the China business of leading events firm Messe Muenchen. Before that he held roles at [...]

  • Visitors passe by a Alibaba Group

    Alibaba Readies $14 Billion Share Sale in Hong Kong

    UPDATED: Chinese e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba may raise up to $15 billion through a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong. The move would be the largest share offering this year and comes despite the ongoing civil strife in the Asian financial capital. Alibaba’s shares have been traded in American Depositary Receipt form [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves a courtroom

    Weinstein Trial Expected to Take Up to Two Months

    Jurors in the upcoming trial of Harvey Weinstein will be told that the case will last up to two months, according to a recent court filing. Weinstein is set to go on trial on Jan. 6 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. According to a court filing, the jury pool will be told to [...]

  • supreme court byron allen comcast

    Emotions Run High as Supreme Court Hears Byron Allen v. Comcast Arguments

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sharon Fletcher traveled from Bethlehem, Pa., in the hopes of attending Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing in the civil rights lawsuit filed by entrepreneur Byron Allen against cable giant Comcast. Fletcher was one of several hundred people who waited in line for a seat in the courtroom. She was there before 8 a.m. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content