Qatar-backed film studio faces legal battle over Oscar-winning movie

Producers of 1996’s The English Patient claim they have not received any profit payment
Qatar-backed film studio faces legal battle over Oscar-winning movie
By Shane McGinley
Sat 15 Feb 2014 10:18 AM

Miramax, the Hollywood studio part owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, is facing a legal battle with the production company behind the 1996 movie The English Patient over profits producers claim they are still owned for work on the Oscar-winning film, it was reported.

A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday upheld allegations that Miramax did not act in good faith when negotiating a deal with producers The Saul Zaentz Co. to release The English Patient. As a result, the two sides are likely to fight the issue out in court in April, according to a report by movie trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter (THR).

Zaentz filed the $20m lawsuit against Miramax in September 2011, claiming it had still not received any profit payment from the movie, despite the fact it had a budget of around $27m and grossed $231m at the worldwide box office when it was released in 1996.

"To this day, despite the great success of the film, [Zaentz] has not even received from Miramax payment sufficient to recoup [Zaentz's] costs of producing The English Patient," the suit said, THR reported.

The suit goes on to claim that an elaborate accountancy system operated by the studio was allegedly designed "to keep the picture in a paper loss position so that no matter how much money The English Patient earned, Miramax and Disney would reap all of the profits."

A jury will determine the outcome of the case when it comes to trial, with a preliminary date of April 21 currently scheduled.

Founded in 1979 by brothers Harvey and Bon Weinstein, Miramax was sold to the Walt Disney Co in 1993. It was subsequently sold in 2010 to investors that included the Qatar Investment Authority and real estate investment firm Colony Capital, in a deal reportedly worth around $663m.

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