John Singleton sued Paramount on Wednesday claiming the studio reneged on a promise to back two films as part of a 2005 deal for the breakout hit “Hustle and Flow.”
In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Singleton, who produced the Craig Brewer-directed drama, says he entertained multiple distribution offers for the film after it premiered to raves at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
He signed a $9 million deal with Paramount, he claims, because the studio promised to “put” two additional features as long as their budgets didn’t exceed $3.5 million each and his producing fee wasn’t higher than 7.5 percent. (Singleton also granted the studio rights to Brewer’s “Black Snake Moan.’)
“Hustle and Flow” made $22 million worldwide and won an Oscar for best song (Moan made about $10 million) but Singleton says Paramount later backed out of the “put” agreement by adding conditions that made it impossible to get the movies made.
Singleton, whose last film was the Taylor Lautner action flick “Abduction,” and his Crunk Pictures are seeking at least $20 million from Paramount and its MTV Films division.
A Paramount spokesman says:
“Paramount was hoping that John Singleton would produce two more pictures before his agreement with our studio ended in 2010, but that did not happen. Instead, he went on to direct ‘Abduction’ for Lionsgate. Paramount fulfilled all of its obligations and his claims have absolutely no merit.”