5:59am PT by Eriq Gardner
Paramount, John Singleton Settle 'Hustle & Flow' Litigation (Exclusive)
On the verge of going to trial, Paramount Pictures and director John Singleton have reached a settlement to end litigation stemming from a 2005 deal for the breakout hit Hustle & Flow.
Singleton sued Paramount and MTV Films in October 2011, originally claiming he was owed at least $20 million for alleged breaches of contract and fraud.
According to the lawsuit, Singleton and his Crunk Pictures took Hustle & Flow to the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where it became a breakout hit. Several offers were made on the film, but Singleton said he chose Paramount because of a promise to "put" two additional features.
Hustle & Flow, directed by Craig Brewer, was a success in the market, earning $75 million in gross receipts, according to the legal papers, and winning an Oscar for best song. But Singleton says Paramount backed out of the other two films, including one that what was to be a Spike Lee-directed concert film featuring Tracy Morgan. Paramount asserted the right to do so because the films allegedly weren't delivered by a certain deadline.
On the road to trial, Paramount scored some key wins, knocking out the fraud claim because Singleton couldn't show that the studio had intentionally deceived him. Last month, Paramount also got rid of a rescission claim, because a waiver in the contract expressly limited Singleton's right to pursue equitable remedies. At the time, Paramount's lawyers believed that its liability for any trial loss would be a few hundred thousand dollars for director and producer fees for the two unproduced films. Marty Singer, representing Singleton, still believed he could attain more.
But at a Friday hearing, the parties informed the court that the matter had been settled. Terms of the deal haven't been made public.
Paramount was represented by Richard Kendall at Kendall Brill & Klieger.
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