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The Weinstein Co. is facing a $15 million lawsuit for releasing back-to-back two films based on real-life men starring A-list actors.
Speedee Distribution, a subsidiary of FilmNation Entertainment, claims TWC agreed to not release any other motion picture within a week of The Founder, the story of McDonald’s mogul Ray Kroc. Gold, another true story, was released by TWC just seven days later, according to the complaint filed Monday in New York.
Attorney James A. Janowitz argues that the two films were also given parallel marketing campaigns, even including a photo of a New York Times spread that showed ads on facing pages.
“The Founder and Gold both appeal to the same audience,” writes Janowitz. “At all relevant times, the two films have been marketed to potential moviegoers in the same way on TV, print and online, conveying an effective binary choice to the viewer: to see one movie or the other.”
The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, was an in-house production and bombed in its U.S. debut over the Jan. 19-21 weekend, grossing $3.4 million. To date, it has earned roughly $10 million. Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey, also grossed about $3.4 million in its opening weekend.
Attorney for TWC, Evan Chesler of Cravath, responded to the suit with the following statement: “The Weinstein Company did not breach its contract and it will defend itself vigorously in court.”
The lawsuit is posted in full below.
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