Contract disputes sometimes become contentious, even to the point where multiple lawsuits are involved. This is the situation with a movie involving Mel Gibson. The actor-director and his producing partner are being sued by the movie’s distributor. The move comes in response to a lawsuit Gibson filed against the company alleging that the distributor failed to honor a co-production deal.
The contract issues started with Gibson accusing the distribution company of not providing enough funds in the budget to shoot what Gibson claims was a critical scene for the movie. He also claims the distributor’s unauthorized cut of the film infringes on the movie’s screenplay copyright, which the director claims he has the rights to.
The film’s director then filed a separate lawsuit against the production company, alleging defamation and a failure to live up to contractual responsibilities. The distributor countered by claiming that Gibson and the film’s director were trying to force the company into spending more money to shoot the scene they wanted included in the movie. The film’s distributor claims that Gibson, his producing partner and director are preventing the company from effectively promoting and distributing the film. The company further asserts that the director’s copyright claim is not enforceable since he was involved on a work-for-hire basis.
As evidenced by this case, breach of contract lawsuits can quickly become complex, especially when there are various suits and countersuits involved. Even when allegations of contract violations are limited to two parties, it’s wise to seek input from a lawyer familiar with how agreements and contracts are typically structured. If disagreements arise, a lawyer may make initial attempts to resolve the issues amicably between all parties. If this isn’t possible, it may be necessary to respond with a countersuit or prepare a strategy to deal with legal actions.