4:26pm PT by Alex Ben Block
Robert Rodriguez Lawsuit Claims Investors Withheld $7.7M for 'Sin City 2,' 'Machete Kills' (Exclusive)
Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and others filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday against several companies and individuals who it charges committed a breach of contract and fraud by not paying money owed for the production of the movies Sin City 2 and Machete Kills.
The suit says that Sergei Bespalov, Marina Bespalov and companies they control, including Aldamisa Entertainment, falsely assured Rodriguez and companies that were making the movies they had the resources and cash to finance the movies and pay for the services of the director, writer and others.
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The suit lays out an amount of at least $7.7 million for Sin City 2 that was to be paid but was not provided as mandated under the contracts.
The suit alleges that Bespalov and the others “deliberately” provide “false assurances” and made “”false promises” without any intention “of complying with…their contractual obligations.”
When the money was not paid as promised, the suit says that Rodriguez and his companies were forced to pay the loan out company for Machete Kills screenwriter, Kyle Ward, which forced them to incur “significant additional expenses.”
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The suit says the defendants “acted dishonestly and in bad faith in numerous respects” in their dealing with Rodriguez and companies involved in the projects.
The specific allegations in the suit cite a breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraudulent inducement, constructive trust and imposition of an equitable lien.
Along with Rodriguez, who lives in Texas, the plaintiffs in the suit are Fifth Brain Inc., El Chingon, Inc., El Chingon Productions, El Chingon Investments and Quickdraw Holdings, all listed as Texas companies or partnerships.
Besides Sergei and Marina Bespalov, the suit names as defendants Maddartico Limited, Vrelonovama LLC, Aldamisa Entertainment and SC2 Productions.
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Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For, starring Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba, was released in the U.S. beginning Aug. 22, 2014, by the Weinstein Company. It has grossed almost $40 million worldwide (including about $13.7 million in the North America).
Machete Kills, starring Mel Gibson, Sophia Vergara and Antonio Banderas, was released in the U.S. beginning Oct. 11, 2013 by Open Road Films. It has grossed about $9.4 million worldwide (including $8 million in North America).
Rodriguez’s directing credits include From Dusk til Dawn, Spy Kids, Grindhouse and the original Sin City.
UPDATE - OCT. 20, 2:30 p.m. pst - Aldamisa Entertainment responded. Attorney Steven Marenberg called the lawsuit "without merit" and said it was filed "to distract from Rodriguez's own breaches of contract and malfeasance...The financiers of these films fulfilled all of their obligations and provided tens of millions of dollars in funding for the two projects."
Bespalov, co-chairman of Aldamisa, said Rodriguez's complaint "is full of misstatements and omissions, and we will vigorously litigate these meritless claims," adding that he is confident is is Rodriguez "who breached the contracts and acted improperly."