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The newest Peter Bogdanovich film, She’s Funny That Way, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, is only in a handful of theaters at the moment with limited marketing, and the producers have a target for blame.
STTN Capital is currently in arbitration against Clarius Capital Group, which originally acquired domestic distribution rights on the film last October. According to legal papers, the parties came together for a short form agreement — but not a long form version —that guaranteed that She’s Funny That Way would be released on at least 1,500 screens in the U.S. and a print and advertisement commitment of more than $24.5 million.
But Clarius allegedly only made a $900,000 payment on a $4.5 million minimum guarantee and couldn’t come up with the funds to release the picture theatrically.
Last April, STTN sent out formal notice it was terminating the agreement and warning Clarius from interfering with negotiations with a new distributor.
The producer would later reach agreement with Lionsgate affiliate Grindstone to release She’s Funny That Way, but according to the arbitration papers, STTN had to settle for a lesser minimum guarantee, a 30 percent distribution fee, and a smaller theatrical release without the big ad spend.
This has become the basis of the arbitration. STTN aims to make up the difference with damages estimated to exceed $5 million over a comedy about a Broadway production.
In arbitration, STTN is also asserting that Clarius and its chief William Sadleir have “co-mingled funds,” “diverted corporate funds and assets,” and misrepresented available financing. The claimant is pursuing an alleged breach of contract, fraud and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The matter is being handled on behalf of STTN by attorney Martin Barab, been assigned to arbitrator Diane Wayne, and is awaiting discovery and a hearing date. The film was released on August 20 and has grossed less than $100,000 amid less-than-stellar critical reviews.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Clarius and will update with any response.
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