French Production Company Fined $46 Million Over Spike Lee Film

French Production Company Fined $46 Million Over Spike Lee Film

After a breach of contract, the legendary director wins a massive lawsuit.

Published July 7, 2011

A  French broadcast company that breached contract and refused to distribute Spike Lee’s film Miracle at St. Anna has been ordered to pay $46 million to the producers of the film.


According to the terms of the contract, TF1 Droits Audiovisuels was scheduled to release Lee’s World War II picture in markets across the world, excluding the United States, Canada and Italy, but while the movie hit U.S. screens in 2008, it was never released internationally.


TF1 argued that they withheld the film because the international version that they received was not the one they were promised. Lee and the production company took the French firm to court, and a judgment agreed that TF1 was at fault and that its failure to honor its contract had proven “disastrous” for the film.


As a result, TF1’s has found themselves owing Lee and Co. more than double the amount that they would’ve had to pay if they held up their end of the bargain. AFP reports that the court has ordered the company to pay nearly $29 million in damages, and more for moral prejudice. Spike gets one million euros for the trouble, and James McBride, the author of the novel the film was based on, gets 200,000 euros. TFP was also ordered to pay $18 million to BNP Paribas bank.   

(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Written by Nakisha Williams


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