‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ screenwriter sues makers over profits; alleges ‘accounting gimmicks’

Anthony McCarten, the screenwriter of the 2018 movie Bohemian Rhapsody filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that he has not received a penny of net proceeds of the movie, reported ANI, citing a report by Variety. The 2018 biographical musical drama movie directed by Bryan Singer grossed more than $900 million at the global box office. However, the screenwriter alleges that he was told the film lost $51 million and called himself the latest victim of studio accounting. Anthony McCarten is a London-based novelist and playwright. He wrote scripts for the movies Darkest Hour and The Theory of Everything.

Bohemian Rhapsody is based on the story of the band Queen and its frontman, Freddie Mercury. And the film production cost about $55 million. But the lawsuit by Anthony McCarten disputes that Twentieth Century Fox, the distributor and co-producer on the film, has used accounting gimmicks to avoid paying, ANI reported, citing Variety.

McCarten sues GK Films

McCarten is suing GK Films, which is the production company that developed the film. Also, McCarten had signed the contract with the GK Films for the movie. The suit alleges that McCarten is owed 5% of the film’s net proceeds but that Fox has inappropriately substituted its own definition of that term. According to the complaint, the company has a reputation for offering lower upfront rates in exchange for a more favourable definition of backend profits, Variety reported. GK Films is an independent company that has financed major films, including Gangs of New York and Hugo.  Producer Graham King leads it.

The suit details that McCarten was frustrated with his low fee for writing Bohemian Rhapsody. As per the complaint, McCarten expected that GK Films’ definition of net proceeds would resemble the film’s actual net proceeds and that he would not be subject to traditional big studio accounting, which erases any apparent profits by tacking on fees.

GK Films allowed Fox to use Fox’s definition of net proceeds, claims McCarten

According to the suit, McCarten did receive bonuses based on the box office performance of the film. But as for net proceeds, he has received two accounting statements from Fox. The first, in April 2019, claimed that the film had lost $105 million, while the second, in July 2021, claimed it had lost only $51 million. As per Variety, McCarten alleges that GK Films let Fox use Fox’s definition of net proceeds but that McCarten has never actually seen that definition or agreed to it.

GK Films joined with Fox in 2016 to co-produce and distribute the film, which won four Academy Awards, including the best actor for Rami Malek.

Bohemian Rhapsody

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of the life of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British rock musical band Queen. Bohemian Rhapsody was the name of one of Queen’s famous songs. The film received multiple awards and nominations. It won four awards at the 91st Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

(With ANI Inputs)

Image: Shutterstock/QueenwillRock/Twitter

This article was first published in www.republicworld.com

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