Court Fight Over ‘Butterfly Effect’ Money

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Production company Benderspink claims in court that producers of “The Butterfly Effect,” starring Ashton Kutcher, owes it money for its share of profits from the 2004 sci-fi thriller.
     Benderspink sued FilmEngine Entertainment, now dba Roulette Films, FilmEngine subsidiary Highwire Films, and owner Anthony Rhulen in Superior Court. It seeks an accounting and damages for breach of contract, breach of faith and fraud.
     According to the July 3 lawsuit, FilmEngine entered into a memorandum of understanding in November 2003 that would give Benderspink a 50 percent share of net profits in the movie.
     “For years, defendants repeatedly assured Benderspink that the picture was still in the red, and therefore no payment was due or owing to Benderspink under the MOU,” the lawsuit states.
     But in 2012, Benderspink claims it discovered that a payment from a domestic distributor had made the movie profitable. The production company claims it contacted the producers for an update on the movie’s finances but was “stonewalled” for over a year.
     This year, the “Butterfly Effect” producers sent Benderspink a participation statement: “a one-page top sheet that indicated the picture was not profitable,” the 8-page complaint says.
     “The participation statement contained absolutely no backup material or supporting documents that explained how the picture could still be in the red,” according to the complaint.
     Benderspink is represented by Bryan Freedman with Freedman + Taitelman.

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