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‘Machete’ Sequel Snarled in $2M Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The owner of the "Machete" action movie sued the makers of an upcoming sequel for more than $2 million, claiming they lied about the budget to avoid paying producer fees.

Overnight Productions and Machete's Chop Shop Inc. sued Machete Kills LLC and Quick Draw Holdings, in Superior Court, asking the judge to void the defendants' rights to the sequel.

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who directed and produced the sequel, is not a party to the lawsuit. But he is a partner of Quick Draw Productions, according to industry website IMDB.com.

Overnight Productions is a loan-out company of producer Rick Schwartz, according to the complaint. The company this year granted Quick Draw Holdings rights to the sequel, "Machete Kills," and agreed to provide producer services on the sequel, according to the complaint.

Under the agreement, Quick Draw was to release all claims and liens asserted by nonparty Tax Credit Finance, for Texas tax credits earned on the first "Machete" movie.

But according to the complaint: "On or about November 19, 2012 and as a result of Quick Draw's failure to obtain a release of the Texas tax credits, Overnight and MCS [Machete's Chop Shop] have terminated the rights agreement."

As part of the agreement, Overnight Productions, says it was entitled to 5 percent of the approved budget for "Machete Kills" with a minimum payment of $750,000 due by the first day of principal photography.

When "Machete Kills" started shooting in June, the sequel's producers paid Overnight Productions a minimum or "floor" payment, but Overnight says it is owed much more.

"(D)efendants have misrepresented the amount of the approved budget and ... the approved budget is an amount far in excess of that which has been represented by defendants," the complaint states. "As a result, Overnight is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that its 5 percent payment under the producer agreement, if properly calculated, would be several hundred thousand dollars more than the floor payment that has been made."

The first "Machete" movie was directed by Robert Rodriguez and editor and visual effects artist, Ethan Maniquis.

Rodriguez made the feature after shooting a fake "Machete" trailer for the intermission of Rodriguez's and Quentin Tarantino's "Grindhouse" double feature. Like "Machete," that movie celebrated the B movie and exploitation movies revered by the two directors.

Overnight Productions seeks at least $2.25 million in damages, and a declaration that it was within its rights to terminate the agreement.

It is represented by Jeffrey Spitz, with Lerman Pointer & Spitz.

Quick Draw Productions did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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