'No Country' investor: Tommy Lee Jones got $15 million, we got stiffed

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'No Country' investor: Tommy Lee Jones got $15 million, we got stiffed

Fri Apr 23, 2010 @ 12:18AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Tommy-lee-jones-no-country EXCLUSIVE: A new lawsuit claims Paramount shortchanged an investor in Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men" by giving Tommy Lee Jones a fat $15 million payout.  

Marathon Funding, an investment vehicle that backed "No Country" distributor Paramount Vantage, says its arrangement with the now-shuttered specialty division entitled it to 25% of "net distribution revenue" from the 2007 best picture winner. But on its March profit statement, Marathon says it noticed an unusual $3.75 mil deduction, which Paramount said was 25% of a $15 million payment it was required to make to "No Country" co-star Jones.

"Charging Marathon with 25% of this extra $15 mil payment to Jones constituted a willful breach of its fiduciary duty to Marathon," the lawsuit alleges. 

Why would a studio give an actor in a 2-year-old movie a massive one-time payment above and beyond his usual profit participation? 
Paramount didn't immediately respond to a request for comment (UPDATE: A spokesperson says Par isn't commenting) but Jones sued the studio in September 2008 saying he was owed at least $10 million for his work on the Vantage/Miramax co-production. The suit claimed Jones received a lesser up-front fee in return for "significant box-office bonuses and 'back-end' compensation."

The new Marathon lawsuit doesn't specifically connect the alleged $15 mil payout to the previous Jones suit. But it says "Paramount was required to make said payment to Jones, notwithstanding Paramount's objections and claims that the extra $15 mil payment was not due to Jones." Sounds like a court judgment or lawsuit settlement, right?

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Hillel Chodos, seeks $3.75 on unspecified causes of action. 



  

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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