LOS ANGELES (CN) – The composer and lyricist for the hit musical “Chicago” say Disney and Miramax used Hollywood accounting to underreport the movie version’s profits by nearly $200 million, cheating them of more than $12 million. Composer John Kander and lyricist Nicole Fosse say the studios underreported gross receipts by $165 million through 2006, and overstated deductions and exclusions by more than $32 million.
The studios’ “financial theatrics … resulted in a nearly $200 million increase in the ‘Adjusted Gross Receipts’ from which plaintiffs’ participation is calculated,” according to the Superior Court complaint. “With interest, the net impact on plaintiffs is the wrongful reduction of their share by upwards of $12 million.”
Kander and Fosse say they “suspect that defendants’ deception runs much deeper – and, consequently, their damages are much greater,” but the studios “frustrated” their audit rights by withholding documents.
They claim Disney and Miramax adopted “the old razzle dazzle approach espoused in the film by shyster Billy Flynn. ‘Razzle dazzle them,’ he sings, ‘and they’ll never catch wise.'”
They demand an accounting and more than $12 million in damages for breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, and breach of faith. They are represented by Stanton Stein with Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor.