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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, February 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Producer Wants $1 Million for Credit Snafu

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Hollywood producer claims in court that his name was deliberately misspelled on credits to a Dolph Lundgren movie directed by German director Uwe Boll, and that the "insulting" error was repeated elsewhere.

Bob Van Ronkel sued Uwe Boll and Studio West Productions in Superior Court, alleging breach of contract, fraud in the inducement and other charges.

Van Ronkel claims that Boll and other producers repeated the "insulting" error on his IMDB credit for the sequel to Boll's "In the Name of the King," breaching a 2011 agreement which he says settled his credit for the film.

Van Ronkel's company, Doors to Hollywood LLC, is a co-plaintiff.

Van Ronkel claims that after he helped persuade (nonparty) Lundgren to star in the film, Boll reneged on a deal to pay him a producer's fee and stripped him of his credit.

Van Ronkel claims he settled with Boll by agreeing "to compromise much of the producer fee" and accepted an associate producer credit instead.

"Despite the fact that Mr. Van Ronkel threatened the producers of the picture with litigation for a deprivation of credit, and despite the fact that Mr. Van Ronkel has been accorded several producer credits over the years (including on the IMDB website), and despite the fact that Mr. Van Ronkel's name was clearly misspelled on the IMDB website in connection with the picture, specifically and correctly spelled out in the agreement, Mr. Van Ronkel's name was misspelled on the IMDB website in connection with the picture," the complaint states.

Instead of "Van Ronkel," the producer's name is spelled "Van Runkel." An exhibit of the misspelling is attached to the 32-page complaint.

Van Ronkel says the same error was repeated in the film's end titles, his name was omitted from the DVD box and marketing materials and a trailer on YouTube.

"Defendants and their Los Angeles legal counsel certainly were aware of how Mr. Van Ronkel's name was spelled (since his name was clearly set forth and properly spelled in the agreement and since Mr. Van Ronkel was previously listed on the IMDB website in accurate fashion)," the complaint states. "Accordingly, plaintiffs are informed and believe that defendants intentionally misspelled Mr. Van Ronkel's name on his credit on the picture, knowing that a true and accurate motion picture production credit was very important in the entertainment industry and to Mr. Van Ronkel and was material to and specifically bargained for in the agreement. By misspelling Mr. Van Ronkel's name, the value of the credit that he did receive was severely diminished and is insulting."

Boll's works include several movie adaptations of video games. His films have drawn opprobrium from critics and gamers in equal measure. In 2006, Boll attempted to silence his five harshest critics by challenging them to a 10-round boxing match at a Vancouver casino. Boll, an amateur boxer, defeated all five of his opponents in an event dubbed "Raging Boll."

Van Ronkel is represented by Charles Coate with Costa Abrams Coate of Santa Monica. He seeks $1 million for breach of written contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud in the inducement, negligent misrepresentation, injunctive relief, specific performance, and rescission.

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