• Actors say contracts linked to past films aren’t being honored
• Miramax says it can’t identify its own contracts in agreement
Weinstein Co., bankrupted by sexual harassment claims against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, faces another raft of complaints from Hollywood stars who say their agreements aren’t being honored.
Actors including Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro challenged the sale of the film studio in more than a dozen objections filed Monday in Delaware bankruptcy court. The company struck an agreement in May to sell its assets to Lantern Entertainment LLC, and already has approval for the deal, worth about $437 million.
This isn’t the first time celebrities have said the company wasn’t honoring pacts to pay them — many objected earlier this year. The latest objections relate to contracts Weinstein Co. listed in a June 8 filing, where it proposed taking rights to certain films, but said it didn’t have to pay amounts owed on them in full, because the contracts weren’t active, with most of the work on them already done. That designation would mean actors get treated the same as general unsecured creditors for any amounts they were owed, rather than being paid in full.
Some actors said that meant they might not get paid, and raised the possibility that Lantern can’t take on the rights to their films, or that clauses in the agreements that hold them responsible for the legacy of their characters could be jeopardized. Weinstein Co.’s lawyer, Joseph Barsalona II, declined to comment.
Streep, De Niro
Streep’s lawyers said the company is trying to transfer the rights associated with “August: Osage County” without paying her $168,611. She asked that assumption of the contracts be conditioned on immediate payment of the amount, as well as time to audit whether she might be due more.
Most objections, like hers, related to actors’ rights to receive payments for ongoing promotion and distribution of films they’d starred in. Such agreements also govern issues like whether parties to them can refuse sequels or if they need to be involved in future promotions or events related to the films.
De Niro said he’s owed $940,706 for “Silver Linings Playbook,” noting the agreement also means he can’t “satirize, ridicule or burlesque” his character in the film.
Director Quentin Tarantino says his contracts with regards to 2008’s “Hell Ride” also can’t be rejected, but didn’t give a dollar amount. The agreement gave him first right of refusal for any remake or sequel. Julia Roberts, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Brad Pitt and Jake Gyllenhaal were among other actors objecting to the Lantern sale.
Film studio Miramax also filed an objection, saying the sale agreement’s descriptions of its contracts are so inadequate it can’t tell which ones they are. “Among other things, the majority of the descriptions of the Miramax contracts do not give any indication of the film or project to which such contract relates,” the studio said in the filing.
The case is In re: The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, 18-10601, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington)