Now Matt Dillon is suing for 'Crash' profits

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Now Matt Dillon is suing for 'Crash' profits

Thu Sep 30, 2010 @ 10:06PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Crash_009 EXCLUSIVE: Is "Crash" the most-litigated movie in Hollywood history? Now actor Matt Dillon has become the latest to sue over profits from the 2006 best picture Oscar winner. 

In a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, the actor who played a racist cop who memorably saves Thandie Newton from a burning car claims that he was cheated out of at least $100,000 in profits from the hit drama by executive producer Bob Yari and others.  

Dillon says that in 2006 his company Matthias Prods. performed an audit and found that he was owed a big chunk of money from the film, which was made for under $8 million but grossed about $98 million worldwide. But he says that when he presented the audit to Yari and his execs Dennis Brown and William Immerman, they "deliberately authorized [the production entity] to apply an incorrect formula for the calculation of [Dillon's] contingent compensation," according to the complaint. This allegedly allowed Yari and crew to falsely increase profits paid to another "Crash"-related company and cheat Dillon out of his share.

We've reached out to Yari for comment and will update if we get a response.  

"Crash" has been a magnet for litigation since even before it won best picture. On the eve of the Oscars that year, Yari, a former real estate developer, brought a brazen lawsuit against the Academy and the producers guild over being denied a producer credit on the film (and thus a chance to accept the Oscar on stage in from of millions of people). He eventually lost. 

Then producers Cathy Shulman and Tom Nunan sued Yari claiming he withheld millions of dollars in profits from the films. 

Then in 2007, director Paul Haggis, co-writer Bobby Moresco and co-star Brendan Fraser filed a lawsuit seeking their share of profits from the film. According to the Dillon suit, that Haggis case is still active. The complaint suggests that earlier this month the judge in the case adopted the findings of a private referee, who said that profits paid to third parties were "inappropriately charged deductions" when calculating payments to Haggis and crew. Dillon presumably seeks to have that same standard applied to his claims for unpaid profits. 

The suit, filed by Richard Charnley and Annie Rian of L.A.'s Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley, alleges causes of action for breach of contract, declaration of a constructive trust, breach of an implied covenant and declaratory relief.  The defendants are Yari, Brown, Immerman, Crash Distribution Llc, Crash Prods. Llc., Bob Yari Film, Bull's Eye Prods., Syndicate Films International and Devan Holdings.  

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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 [email protected]

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