The makers of the cult hit “Napoleon Dynamite” have filed suit seeking at least $10 million in homevideo royalties they say they are owed by distributor Fox Searchlight.
Their suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this week, claims that when Fox acquired the movie at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, it assured “Napoleon” producers Napoleon Pictures Ltd. that its net royalty rate on homevid sales would be 25% of net profits. Instead, the suit says, it was only 9.66%. “Napoleon Dynamite” was a homevid hit, and the production team behind the movie says they should have been paid $10 million more under the formula. Napoleon Pictures Ltd. says it was only after they executed an agreement and Fox started exploiting the project that they received a document from Fox that defined net proceeds. “Napoleon” was made for about $400,000 but grossed more than $46 million worldwide.
The suit filed by Martin Singer and Allison Hart of Lavely & Singer, also claims Fox underreported pay TV license fees, failed to report electronic sell-through revenue, charged residuals on homevideo sales and deducted costs that lacked documentation. Fox did not have an immediate comment.