'Rock the Kasbah' Producers Win Case Against Russian Distributor Over License Fees

Rock the Kasbah Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Open Road Films

Rock the Kasbah Still - H 2015

The Moscow-based company Top Film Distribution released the film, starring Bill Murray, Kate Hudson and Bruce Willis, last year, but allegedly failed to make license payments.

Covert Media, the production company of Barry Levinson’s Rock the Kasbah, has won an arbitration case against the Russian distributor over alleged failure to pay license fees.

Moscow-based Top Film, which distributed Rock the Kasbah in Russia, has been ordered to pay all balances and fees associated with the title under the terms of an arbitration ruling, Covert Media said Friday in a press release, adding that so far the Russian company hasn't made a single payment.

"These actions are reprehensible and we will not be in business with companies who continually fail to meet their contractual and legal obligations,” stated Liz Kim Schwan, Covert Media president of international.

Covert Media put the arbitration proceedings into motion in January, six months after a notice of default of a distribution agreement was sent to Top Film.

"With no response from the Russian company and after 11 months of non-payment despite promises by Top Film owners Vladimir Artemenko and Yuri Ryzhov, arbitration was the next legal step to enforce the binding contract," said Covert Media.

Rock the Kasbah, starring Bill Murray, Kate Hudson and Bruce Willis, was released in Russia on 58 screens on Nov. 12, 2015, and grossed just under $20,000.

At one time, Top Film was among Russia's major distributors, with Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects and David O. Russell's American Hustle among its releases.

However, the company last year faced problems as the local production company NG Production filed a lawsuit against it. This year, Top Film nearly stopped operations, releasing only one film, El Americano: The Movie.