'Weekend at Bernie's' Talent Sues MGM, Fox for Unpaid Profits

Weekend at Bernie's - H 2014
Courtesy Everett Collection

Weekend at Bernie's - H 2014

Producer and screenwriter Robert Klane and director Ted Kotcheff on Friday filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court against MGM Holdings and Twentieth Century Fox, claiming they have never been paid their share of revenues and profits from the 1989 movie Weekend at Bernie's.

Both say they signed contracts nearly three decades ago that included both compensation for their work as producers, writers and directors, and a share of the gross profits from the showing of the movie in theaters, on television, on home video and other mediums. They estimate the movie has grossed over $30 million and cite the Director's Guild as saying actual revenues to the distributors have exceeded $16 million. Klane and Kotcheff say they have never gotten a proper accounting and have not been paid a cent.

Read the complaint here.

The suit alleges breach of contract, improper accounting and violations of the California business and professional code, and more.

They both signed contracts in 1987 with now defunct Gladden Entertainment, a production company that later sold its assets to the studios, according to the suit. "Each of them [has been] deprived of at least hundreds of millions of dollars despite fully performing under the agreements," says the suit, "and delivering one of the most hilarious and endearing goofball comedies of the '80s."

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Klane lists credits in the suit including writing episodes of the TV series M*A*S*H, the comedy Walk Like a Man and the screenplay for National Lampoon's European Vacation.

Kotcheff's directing credits include Rambo: First Blood and Uncommon Valor.

A representatives for of MGM Holdings said they had no comment. A spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox said he did not know about it but would look into it.