You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Gangs’ green for Grimaldi

Producer getting $3 mil, pic to continue prod'n

Producer Alberto Grimaldi has won the ‘Gangs’ war.

Three months after it started, the high-profile lawsuit pursued by Grimaldi and his Gotham-based P.E.A. Films against AMG, Michael Ovitz, the Walt Disney Co., Universal, Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) and its foreign distribs over Martin Scorsese’s $100 million drama “Gangs of New York” has been settled.

Under the terms of the settlement, reached Thursday night at the Federal District Court in New York, Grimaldi and P.E.A. will be awarded north of $3 million, though not the entire $10 million dollars for which he initially sued (Daily Variety, Dec. 27, 1999). Grimaldi came up with the idea for the film and was integrally involved in setting it up at U in 1991, long before the underlying rights were sold to Disney and before Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro agreed to star (De Niro departed the pic in November).

In his suit, Grimaldi had sought an injunction against U and Disney for icing him out of the pic’s development and attempting to force him to share his producing credit with Scorsese. He also demanded that the film not be made. Settlement gives the producer sole production credit, first position producer credit (one other person can get producer credit behind his name), a cash payment and significant participation in the film’s backend.

Also under the settlement, the entire project will revert to Grimaldi if the picture isn’t made by the end of 2001.

Settlement also stipulates that Alberto’s son, Mauritizio Grimaldi, will be granted an executive producer credit (Mauritizio was instrumental in the project’s development). Scorsese’s ex-wife and producing partner, Barbara De Fina, is no longer involved in the project and will not receive any credit. The second position producer credit will go to whomever is hired by Miramax to serve as the pic’s line producer.

The cash settlement will be paid out equally by IEG (the pic’s principal financier) and Disney/Miramax, who together will provide the rest of the pic’s budget. Miramax is the film’s domestic distributor while IEG is handling international rights.

“Grimaldi got everything provided for in his original contract plus an additional cash settlement,” said a source close to the suit.

IEG’s Graham King, who said he wasn’t yet fully aware of the terms of the settlement, said, “I am really happy this is over with so we can move ahead with the film.”

AMG notes that pre-production is already underway in Rome.

Other sources underplay the significance of the settlement and say the only thing holding up production is scribe Steven Zailllian’s rewrite.

Miramax, Disney and AMG, which reps Scorsese and DiCaprio, can also take solace in the fact that Grimaldi is, for all intents and purposes, out of the filmmaking process and that production can proceed full steam ahead.

Suit had stalled Disney and Miramax’s efforts to fast-track the film, at one point slated to begin lensing this monthin Rome. Scorsese, IEG and the studios will now accelerate efforts to replace De Niro and cast the female lead. Sources say Cameron Diaz is all but signed for the part.

IEG’s investment in the film is about $65 million, but pre-sales have already been brisk: Company has closed deals in Japan, France, Germany and other major territories.

“Gangs” is set in New York during the peak of Tammany Hall’s political corruption. DiCaprio plays a Gotham gangster who organized street gangs in an effort to control the city’s street wars between Italian and Irish immigrants.

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

P.E.A. and Grimaldi are repped by Ronald S. Taft, Scorsese and DiCaprio by AMG and Diaz by ICM and AMG.

More Film

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content