Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter Anthony McCarten has filed a lawsuit against producer Graham King and the latter’s production company, GK Films.
As reported by Deadline, McCarten filed a breach of contract suit yesterday (November 17) for money owed from the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic, which stars Rami Malek as the late Queen frontman.
It’s said that the Bryan Singer-directed project had a budget of $55million (£41m) and grossed $911million (£675m) worldwide. However, according to Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, the movie is in the red “to the tune of $51m”.
McCarten’s suit claims that he made a deal to receive a five per cent share of GK Films’ take of Bohemian Rhapsody, rather than Disney or Fox, who acquired the studio. The writer states that he’s not yet been paid anything from the deal, claiming King has been “unresponsive” to his appeals to settle up.
Per the 50-page suit that was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, McCarten and his attorneys seek “monetary damages in an amount to be proven at trial”, a full accounting of the film and “a judicial declaration of the parties’ contractual rights and duties in connection with the Writer’s Agreement…By this Action, McCarten seeks to hold GK Films to its promise in the Writer’s Agreement.”
The suit cites the first of three deals the writer struck with production company WAGW, Inc in 2015 for an “amount equal to 5% of 100% of the ‘Net Proceeds’”.
However, Fox argues that McCarten is only due any profits via their “Defined Net Proceeds” definition, rather than GK Films’ standard “‘Net Proceeds’ definition, as modified through good faith negotiation”.
GK Films told Deadline they think Fox and Disney should be a party to the action and will be reaching out to the companies.
“Even worse, it is not even clear that GK Films has ever had a standard definition on any film,” states the filing by attorneys Dale Kinsella and Nicholas Soltman.
Earlier this year, Brian May said that a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel is unlikely unless a particularly strong idea emerges. “We have talked about it and at the moment, we don’t see the path towards doing that and unless it jumps out and knocks us over then we won’t do it,” he told NME.
Bohemian Rhapsody became the UK’s biggest-selling home video in 2019.