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Global Road Fallout: Bank Sues Over Failure to Release ‘City of Lies’

The collapse of Global Road Entertainment has resulted in its first lawsuit: A bank is suing over the distributor’s refusal to release the Johnny Depp film “City of Lies.”

Bank Leumi filed suit Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court, alleging that it is owed millions in unpaid guarantees on the film. The bank is suing Global Road, which was taken over last week by Bank of America and other lenders, and Miramax, which has the TV distribution rights to the film. Miramax, following Global Road’s lead, has refused to accept delivery of the film.

Global Road was supposed to release the film on Sept. 7, but pulled it from the schedule earlier this month. The lawsuit quotes Rob Friedman, Global Road’s CEO, as telling the producers that Global Road “is not going to accept the movie because of the current environment surrounding it” in a phone conversation on July 17. The following week, an attorney for Miramax wrote a letter to the bank, indicating that it would follow suit.

The Miramax letter cited “significant problems with the production which have significantly devalued the Picture, including, without limitation, the highly publicized alleged offscreen conduct of Johnny Depp, as well as a lawsuit filed against Mr. Depp and the production because he allegedly physically attacked a crew member on the set of the Picture.”

Depp was sued on July 9 for allegedly punching the location manager on the set of the film, a charge that his camp vehemently denies.

Good Films obtained $23.2 million in loans from Bank Leumi to produce the film, which concerns the LAPD investigation of the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Open Road agreed to distribute the film domestically, and agreed to pay a minimum $5.4 million guarantee directly to the bank, according to the suit. Miramax took the TV rights, agreeing to a $4.25 million guarantee.

According to the suit, Good Films delivered the finished film this summer to Open Road, which had since been acquired by Tang Media Partners and had changed its name to Global Road. Global Road initially seemed willing to make the full payment to the bank, but subsequently balked, according to the suit.

In the suit, the bank alleges that Global Road used Depp’s off-screen issues as an excuse for its own failure to release the film.

“Any such statement would have been false because the real reason Open Road would not release the Picture is because Open Road and Global Road are in financial distress and decided not to pay the $10,000,000 of marketing and distribution expenses Open Road committed to pay,” the suit alleges.

Global Road did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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