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Superman producer Jon Peters is facing a super-size lawsuit from his ex-wife.
Mindy Peters filed a lawsuit against him Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that he owes her in excess of $500,000 — her cut of profits from the latest iteration of the superhero blockbuster. She claims he made a voluntary gift to her in writing on Christmas Eve in 2007 that transfers a 10 percent share of his stake in the franchise, in which he’s long been listed as a top producer.
The lawsuit acknowledges that the couple broke up in 2009, but that doesn’t get Jon Peters out of paying Mindy for future Superman films -— specifically, his share of the profits from 2013’s Man of Steel, which grossed $668 million at the global box office. She claims in the lawsuit that Peters has been receiving his share of the profits yet has been lying to her about it to avoid paying her cut.
“Dear Mindy I love you with all my heart and have for 14 years,” Peters wrote to his wife, according to the note cited in the breach of completed gift lawsuit. “You are my best friend and my partner. Therefore, I want you to have 10% of my take of Superman 2-3-4. I give you all my love. Love JP.”
A publicist for Peters did not immediately return a request for comment.
The complaint marks an interesting turn for the former couple, who were known during their marriage for their charitable giving. They were cited in 2007 by then Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca for donating to the family of a fallen deputy. Peters has made no secret of his brush with the dark side as a child; he wound up in a juvenile detention center as a teenager after coming to loose ends after the death of his father. Two deputies in the Big Brother program mentored him through the tough times. “I realized that, basically, happiness was a choice,” he told The Hollywood Reporter after Baca’s commendation.
But their on-again, off-again relationship also captured headlines. The two met in May 1994, married in 2001, divorced in 2004 and resumed dating in 2006 before they broke up again in 2009, according to the complaint.
There was also media coverage of Jon Peters’ actual involvement in producing the films. A 2013 story in THR reported that he didn’t actually work on Man of Steel or the subsequent films but was given a cut because of the work he did leading up to 2006’s Superman Returns.
Peters, a hairdresser turned studio mogul turned producer, allegedly has had no active role in the last Superman reboot. He was sidelined by Warner Bros. when Christopher Nolan boarded the film as lead producer. But he was said to have been paid millions of dollars because his credit was what Hollywood calls an “early adopter,” meaning he was a key player during the nascent stage of the franchise that was able to reap huge windfalls down the line.
From 1993 to 2006, for instance, Peters played an important role in bringing the franchise back to the big screen, with the final five years devoted almost exclusively to 2006’s Superman Returns. For his efforts, he received a full producing credit from Warner Bros. He enjoyed a first-dollar gross deal — a Hollywood rarity for a producer — so he still got paid, sources told THR at the time.
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