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Producer sues Miramax over ‘Chicago’

$10 mil suit claims share of pic's gross is still owed

NEW YORK (AP) — “Chicago” producer Marty Richards has filed a $10 million lawsuit, charging that Miramax Films Corp. failed to pay the producer its share of hundreds of millions of dollars the movie earned.

Richards’ company, the Producer Circle Co., says in its lawsuit it is the owner of the film rights to the musical “Chicago,” and that PCC was to receive part of the film’s gross.

The movie opened in December 2002 and became “the highest grossing and most profitable movie ever released by Miramax,” court papers say. It won six Oscars including best picture, with Richards collecting the producer award.

PCC said that although it believes the movie has grossed more than $300 million, Miramax has failed to pay PCC the percentage it is owed.

Richards says he and his company were victims of Hollywood-style accounting in which two types of accounting occur at the same time:

The lawsuit says Miramax is trying to impose upon PCC a “net profits” deal that it never agreed to.

In addition, court papers say, Miramax has shortchanged PCC by not accounting for DVD sales, foreign distribution and other sources of income.

It is not clear how much Richards and his company have received, but court papers only mention $500,000 — $300,000 as a producing fee and $200,000 when the movie passed its “first cash break-even level.”