Kander and Chicago Collaborators Sue Miramax and Disney for Film Profits

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29 Apr 2010

Renee Zellweger in
Renee Zellweger in "Chicago"
David James

Composer John Kander and representatives of the late director-choreographer-writer Bob Fosse and late lyricist-librettist Fred Ebb, who created Broadway's Chicago, are suing film Miramax films and Walt Disney Pictures, claiming that the writers are owed money from the hit movie musical.

Kander, Fosse's daughter Nicole Fosse and the estate of Ebb filed papers in Los Angeles Superior Court April 28. The writers claim they are owed more than $12 million. The 2002 movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The plaintiffs cite an audit that claims "underreporting of more than $165 million in gross receipts (through Dec. 31, 2006) and the overstating of more than $32 million in deductions and exclusions from those gross receipts."

"Chicago," directed by Rob Marshall, grossed more than $300 million internationally.

According to the court complaint, the studios' "financial theatrics ... resulted in a nearly $200 million increase in the 'Adjusted Gross Receipts' from which plaintiffs' participation is calculated. With interest, the net impact on plaintiffs is the wrongful reduction of their share by upwards of $12 million."



The writers also claim underpayment of their 15 percent royalty on soundtrack sales.