John Singleton‘s lawsuit against Paramount Pictures and MTV Films will go to trial. Singleton alleges that the studio reneged on their contract for Hustle and Flow, which stipulated that two additional films would be produced. The additional two films; an unspecified film by Dee Ray Davis and a Tracy Morgan concert film directed by Spike Lee.
Singleton states that back at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival he accepted a deal for $9 million dollars from Paramount and MTV Films for Hustle & Flow starring Terrence Howard. In doing so he passed on a $10 million dollar deal from New Line, because Paramount and MTV promised to produce two additional features as long as the budgets did not exceed $3.5 million and his producing fee was no more than 7.5%.
Paramount is alleging that they did no wrong because Singletong had a deadline of January 22, 2010 to complete both films.
Prior to trial Judge Amy Hogue has thrown out Singletons Fraud claim due to insufficient allegations to support claim by singleton and a tentative ruling to throw out the rescission claim.
Singleton is requesting damages in the amount of $1,000,000, the additional he would have gotten from the New Line deal. In addition to that he is also requesting his producer and directors fee and the additional value of the two unproduced films.
Paramount is said to be arguing that he is entitled to no more than $400,000 in director and producing fees, if a judge or jury sides with Singleton.
It will be interesting to watch this trial play-out, to watch and see how the details or subtlety of contracts is interpreted legally. Watch and learn independent filmmakers.