Weinstein Co. Resolves Profits Lawsuit Over 'The Reader'

Bernard Schlink claimed he hadn't been paid from the 2008 film based on his book.
The Weinstein Co.
'The Reader'

The Weinstein Co. has closed the book on a lawsuit brought by Bernard Schlink, author of the novel that formed the basis of the Oscar-winning drama The Reader.

Schlink, a German law professor and judge, filed claims in January 2012 and contended that he had been cheated out of millions from the Stephen Daldry-directed film about post-WWII Germany, which was nominated for best picture and earned a best actress prize for Kate Winslet.

For The Reader, which grossed nearly $109 million at the box office worldwide, Schlink had a deal entitling him to 2.5 percent of gross receipts with escalators up to 5 percent. His contract was with Miramax, which in 1998 bought rights to Schlink's book for $1.5 million, but Harvey and Bob Weinstein took The Reader project with them when they left Miramax to form their new company. A complaint called a profit participation statement "false in that it greatly understates the receipts, overstates the costs and expenses, and does not correctly follow the terms of their deal with Miramax."

In September 2012, an L.A. Superior Court judge threw out a claim for fraud while leaving a violation of the express written contract at issue. The Weinstein Co. said in court papers this was a "relatively straightforward motion picture accounting dispute," though there was some drama surrounding plaintiff's attempted claim for breach of implied contract. In an amended complaint, Schlink asserted that The Weinstein Co. was not a party to the Miramax deal, even if it was assigned rights. The defendants challenged this assessment.

Then, the case stalled, lost momentum or became subject to private negotiations. For nearly three years, there weren't any substantial developments in the litigation, though a trial-setting conference was held in April with reports of advancing settlement talks coming soon thereafter.

On Monday, the plaintiff filed papers to dismiss the case. Neither party has gotten back to The Hollywood Reporter with a comment.

Schlink was represented by Joseph Hart. The Weinstein Co. was handled by Harrison Dossick.