Butler sued Nu Image/Millennium Films, claiming that the producer had understated domestic and foreign receipts by tens of millions of dollars and had failed to report $8 million that went to its own executives.
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The lawsuit comes a day after Scarlett Johansson filed a blockbuster compensation lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co., claiming that the simultaneous release of “Black Widow” on Disney Plus cut into her box office participation.
Butler’s suit is a more traditional “Hollywood accounting” case. Butler starred as Mike Banning, a Secret Service agent who has to rescue the president from hostage-takers.
The film grossed $170 million worldwide, and spawned two successful sequels, “London Has Fallen” and “Angel Has Fallen,” in which Butler reprised the role.
“Producers have earned tens of millions of dollars from ‘Olympus,’ but refuse to pay Butler a penny of the grosses and profits promised to him in the parties’ agreement,” the lawsuit states. “Butler refuses to tolerate Defendants’ misrepresentations and other wrongful conduct. Butler worked with Defendants to create a highly successful movie franchise. He demands his fair share.”
According to the suit, Butler’s contract entitled him to 10% of net profits, plus 6% of domestic adjusted gross receipts above $70 million and 12% of foreign adjusted gross receipts above $35 million. His production company was also entitled to 5% of net profits, and Butler was to receive certain bonuses for hitting box office thresholds.
The suit alleges that Butler has received irregular accounting statements from the producer and that Butler has objected to the statements. According to the suit, Butler hired an auditor who found that domestic receipts were understated by $17.5 million, and producers’ receipts were understated by $12 million, including the $8 million that went to the executives.
The suit also claims that the producers deducted the full cost of foreign publicity from foreign receipts, even though foreign distributors picked up half the cost. The suit also claims that Nu Image/Millennium instructed distributors to deduct certain expenses, such that receipts would be underreported.
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