The upcoming thriller stars Armie Hammer and Dev Patel, and centers on a group of 2008 terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals that left more than 160 people dead. Rights to the movie are being included in an asset sale by the Weinstein Company after the indie studio filed for bankruptcy last month.
However, in legal filings, the producers of the film, known as Hotel Mumbai Pty Ltd., claim that they rescinded their license with the Weinstein Company after news broke that its co-founder, Harvey Weinstein, had been accused of sexually harassing or assaulting dozens of women.
“‘Hotel Mumbai’s’ biggest concern is preserving the Picture’s value and honoring its subject matter as best as possible, especially in light of the recently-revealed devastating and horrific allegations regarding Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual abuse and rape, among other things, and the impact Mr. Weinstein’s conduct has had on the previously stellar reputation of TWC and on TWC’s ability to operate its business,” the filing reads.
Maura J. Wogan, an attorney for the producers, wrote a Feb. 14 letter to Weinstein Company COO David Glasser rescinding the rights and citing the Weinstein allegations as sufficient cause for termination. She stated that if the producers had been aware of the claims, they never would have partnered with the studio. Glasser, who was fired four days after receiving the letter, wrote back to say he would have a response within a week, but the plaintiffs claim that no further communication took place.
In addition, the producers say that in return for licensing “Hotel Mumbai,” the Weinstein Company agreed to spend $10 million to promote and advertise it, and committed to releasing the movie in theaters 12 months after they received a finished film. “Hotel Mumbai” will be completed on April 30, and was originally eyeing a release in September or October.
The producers claim that they have received no assurances that any company that buys the Weinstein Company will be able to meet those requirements. Dallas-based investment firm Lantern Capital has entered into a “stalking horse” agreement to buy all of the studio’s assets. In bankruptcy, the stalking horse bidder submits an initial bid, so the distressed company can ensure that their assets aren’t the subject of an artificially low sales price. The “Hotel Mumbai” producers say they have received no assurances that Lantern Capital, which has no direct experience releasing films, can meet the deal terms.
“The Picture is a highly anticipated film and is expected to be widely successful internationally,” the filing reads. “The Picture has special meaning to India in particular given the subject of the film.”
Susan Seflin, an attorney for the producers, declined to comment. She also would not say who specifically had hired her — there are several producers listed on the film. The objections were raised in anticipation of an April 6 hearing on the Weinstein Company bankruptcy. “Hotel Mumbai” is one of several unreleased films expected to be included in the sale — it joins “The Current War,” a historical drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and “The Upside,” a comedy with Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart.