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Producer demand his cut


March 22, 2006

A producer of the movie Chicago has filed a $US10 million ($A13.9 million) lawsuit, charging that Miramax Films Corp failed to pay the producer its share of hundreds of millions of dollars the movie earned.

In a law suit filed today, the Producer Circle Co says it is the owner of the film rights to the musical Chicago, a Broadway hit of the 1970s that Miramax agreed to produce with the company as a movie, and that it was to receive part of the film's gross.

Martin Richards, founder and principal of the production company, says in court papers he and Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein had producered Chicago. The 2002 movie is "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.

Miramax spokeswoman Emily Baer said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

The film, which starred Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger and was directed by Rob Marshall, was based on a play by the late Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb. They based their work on an earlier play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins.

The Producer Circle Co said although it believed the movie had grossed more than $US300 million ($A417 million), Miramax had failed to pay them their cut.

"While PCC is unable to determine with precision the amounts that it is owed, it estimates that Miramax' breach of contract has cost it no less than $10 million," court papers say.

Richards said he and his company were victims of Hollywood-style accounting in which two types of accounting occur at the same time: One type is for financial reporting purposes, and the other is for calculating how much individuals will get.

Catherine Zeta-Jones in <i>Chicago</I>.

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago.

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