Director John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, Baby Boy) is seeking at least $20 million from Paramount Pictures and MTV Films after he says the studios failed to uphold a deal he made with them, as the film's producer, for his 2005 hit, Hustle and Flow.
According to the suit, Singleton allowed Paramount to distribute the film in exchange for a relatively small $9 million fee — amid bidding wars with other studios — because they agreed to distribute two of his other films with budgets of under $3.5 million each. Hustle and Flow went on to make $23 million (and won an Oscar for Best Song), but the director says that when it came time to make the other two films, all he got was the run-around from Paramount and was never able to get the films off the ground.
"They just kept thwarting my efforts to make any of the movies," Singleton told the Los Angeles Times. "I gave them a number of projects and they were all rejected. It became plain that they weren't going to honor the deal."
A Paramount spokesperson has already fired back with a statement against the suit's allegations of fraud, rescission, unjust enrichment and breach of contract. “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," the statement reads. "Instead, he went on to direct Abduction for Lions Gate. Paramount fulfilled all of its obligations and his claims have absolutely no merit."
(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/GettyImages)