10:45am PT by Ashley Cullins
'It' Producer Sued Over Fees and Credits on Dozens of Projects
It producer Roy Lee's Hollywood high-life filled of private jets, court-side seats and globetrotting has all been funded through fraud, alleges a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Producer John Powers Middleton (Good Boys, The Disaster Artist) says he's lost millions because of Lee's "fraud and deceit" after working to integrate him into "the highest echelons of the entertainment industry."
From 2010 to 2016, Middleton and Lee allegedly had a deal under which if Middleton paid half of the overhead expenses, he would get a 20 percent cut of fees plus be entitled to executive producer credits. The deal, claims Middleton, covered all projects connected to Lee's pre-existing deal with Warner Bros. Such projects include The Lego Batman Movie, It: Chapter Two, The Exorcist TV series and about three dozen more, according to the complaint.
Middleton is a Philadelphia Phillies co-owner and son of the team's managing partner John S. Middleton and a Republican donor. He says he's owed millions in producers fees and alleges someone in Lee's camp contacted IMDb to strip him of executive producer credits. On top of that, Middleton claims Lee took advantage of more than $7 million in "benefits," including use of Middleton's Malibu home, a chartered yacht in Cannes and NFC Championship tickets.
When it came time to renegotiate their deal, Middleton says Lee demanded $1 million in overhead each year and threatened to remove him from projects for which he'd already been assured credit and fees. Middleton says he decided to cut ties with Lee in 2018 after being informed he was being removed from Minecraft the First Movie, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and The Stand.
Middleton is suing for breach of contract, fraud, unfair competition and unjust enrichment and is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages. He is represented by Martin Singer.
Lee declined comment on the suit.