German Producer Sues Hollywood Studio Over 'Laughter in the Dark'

Stone Village has already missed one $50,000 payment and another installment is due on Aug. 15, the suit says.
Bobbs-Merrill Company

Stone Village Productions is refusing to pay up on a producer's agreement until Laughter in the Dark is cast, according to a breach of contract complaint filed Monday in California federal court. 

German producer Sandor Soth, suing as Monbiju Films, claims Stone Village violated a February 2016 short-form producer agreement by failing to pay. 

The agreement laid out a payment schedule with $50,000 due on July 1, $50,000 due on Aug. 15 and $87,500 due by the day principal photography begins on the film — but Soth says Stone Village hasn't paid a dime and has said it won't.

"Defendant brazenly has no intention to pay the sum of $100,000.00 it owes Monbijou by August 15, 2016, under the Producer Agreement (as amended), as it is unable to provide any certain schedule with respect to when the Picture might be cast," states the complaint. 

Soth says his company, Intuit Pictures, first optioned Vladimir Nabokov's novel Laughter in the Dark in 2012 for about $16,000, securing an exclusive option to purchase certain motion picture rights. The next year, Intuit assigned its rights to Monbijou, which entered into a producer agreement with Stone Village.

Under the agreement, Soth claims, Monbiju would pay another option fee to Nabokov's estate to extend the option and Stone Village would provide producing services including casting, finding a director and securing financing.

Monbiju is seeking $100,000 in damages.