'Good Kill' Investor Wants to Stop Film's Release Due to Credit Snub

Good Kill Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

Good Kill Still - H 2014

Mark Amin of Sobini Films isn't feeling particularly special. He's filed a lawsuit against Voltage Pictures that objects to Good Kill, a film about drone warfare starring Ethan Hawke and January Jones. His beef? His name as a producer of the picture was "buried... in a greatly inferior position at the bottom of a card headed by two of the defendants' executives."

In Hollywood, credits are currency, and a developing genre of lawsuits explores the rights of the snubbed. Previously, there came a lawsuit from a guy whose name was misspelled on credits. There's also ongoing litigation from a financier who was left out of credits on Oscar-winning Birdman, which led the defendant to inject a new phrase in the Hollywood lexicon — "credit extortion."

Now, Amin is contributing his own chapter to the canon of lawsuits playing counterpoint to William Shakespeare's observation, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." This one deals with a film investor who says he was promised special treatment. He didn't get it. Now, he literally wants to stop the film even if it will mean no return on his investment.

"For movie producers, 'single card credit' — that is, being credited alone on the screen — is the gold standard," opens the complaint filed on Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court. "It brings significant and well-recognized professional and economic value. Plaintiff Mark Amin, through his production company, plaintiff Sobini Films, bargained for that gold standard credit, paid handsomely for it and worked hard to earn it on the recently released motion picture Good Kill."

Amin, who  for what it's worth  is listed by IMDb as being an "executive producer" on Frida, says his company contributed $1.3 million, or 50 percent of the equity, for Good Kill. He says he provided creative notes on the script, consulted on casting and was on set for almost the entirety of the shoot, "working closely" with director Andrew Niccol.

He says his term sheet guaranteed him a single card "produced by" credit in the main titles. According to the lawsuit, "To get defendants' promise of that special treatment for Amin, Sobini agreed to accept a lower share of the film's profits than it would otherwise be entitled to."

Voltage allegedly breached the agreement, and upon his requests that corrective steps be made, Voltage CEO Nicolas Chartier is said to have responded with an "arrogant and dismissive email" that stated, "Thanks for never calling us ever again."

Amin claims at least $500,000 in damages and is aiming for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent one to prevent further distribution of Good Kill without him getting gold standard credit treatment.