Manager Brad Grey took the stand Thursday for a long day of questioning, as producer Bo Zenga tried to prove he’s entitled to a share of profits on “Scary Movie.”
Called as a hostile witness by Zenga’s attorney, Gregory Dovel, Grey was questioned about a stream of correspondence and memos that referred to Zenga as a producer on the picture. Zenga claims he had an oral contract with Grey’s management firm, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, giving him equal profits on the film. He cites the letters and memos as evidence of a partnership.
Grey contends that while Zenga was a producer on the film, he was not Brillstein-Grey’s producing partner, and the evidence only shows that some producing function was intended for Zenga.
The film, released in 2000, grossed $157 million domestically. Zenga claims he is entitled to $3.5 million as his share of the profits.
On Thursday, Dovel asked Grey about an email he received from one of his managers, Peter Safran, which referred to Zenga as a producer on the film. Grey also was questioned about correspondence from Miramax, the studio that ultimately made the project, referring to potential directors. The Miramax letter was copied to both Grey and Zenga. Also admitted into evidence was a letter Zenga sent to MGM when he was pitching the project, in which he stated he was producing with Brillstein-Grey.
At his deposition, Grey testified he was aware that Zenga would serve in some producing capacity and Miramax would negotiate for his marginal involvement. Throughout the case, Brillstein-Grey has contended it never would have split profits with an unknown who had never produced a film that was released. When asked by Dovel on Thursday if he was not falsely minimizing Zenga’s role, Grey responded, “No sir.”
Dovel’s attempts to get Grey to answer the question whether the correspondence showed Brillstein-Grey and Zenga were producing partners were met with repeated objections, which were sustained by L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien.
Zenga is expected to finish putting on his case this week. O’Brien has ruled that Zenga can not testify at trial because he took the Fifth Amendment in answer to hundreds of questions at his deposition once it was discovered a screenwriting award he claimed to have won was in a phony contest he set up himself.
Zenga and his Boz Prods. sued Brillstein-Grey in July 2000, claiming he was contacted by Brillstein-Grey manager Peter Safran, asking him to help whip what became “Scary Movie” into shape. Zenga claimed Safran orally promised him an equal partnership with Brillstein-Grey, but when it came time to make a deal with Miramax, Brillstein-Grey told Zenga he was on his own. Zenga got $150,000 and an executive producer credit, but no profit participation. Trial began May 14.