Video label sues Weinstein Co.

Videocine alleges TWC owes it nearly $2 million

Spanish-language film company Videocine is suing the Weinstein Co., alleging that the U.S. mini-major owes it nearly $2 million.

The Mexico City-based producer-distributor alleges that TWC committed to a minimum payment of $2 million as part of a home-video distribution agreement but has paid only $300,000.

Sources close to the Weinstein Co., however, have said that the company was unhappy with the quality of the negatives provided under the agreement and deemed them unreleasable.

In a deal aimed at bolstering the TWC library, the Weinstein Co. and Videocine entered a pact in October 2006 for TWC to distribute 178 Videocine titles on video in the U.S. and Canada, primarily through its Genius subsidiary. Genius is not named in the suit.

The complaint alleges that TWC paid $300,000 in August 2007 but has not made a payment since, violating a schedule laid out in the agreement.

"Videocine has performed all obligations on its part under the agreement," according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. "Defendants have breached the agreement by failing to make the second and third minimum guaranteed payments."

Guaranteed payments generally are enforceable under contract law, though contract commitments could be voided if the goods delivered, like film negatives, are not considered up to snuff.

Videocine also has filed a request that the agreement be terminated as a result of the alleged breach and asked that TWC no longer be able to benefit financially from titles under the agreement.

The companies are said to be pursuing settlement talks, though it's unclear how close they are to a resolution.

Videocine is a subsidiary of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Televisa; among its hit productions is "Una Pelicula de Huevos" (The Egg Movie), a smash in Mexico in 2006.

TWC declined to comment on the lawsuit.