Lawsuit Claims ‘Gold’ Tried To Drink ‘The Founder’s’ Milkshake

FilmNation Subsidiary claims TWC violated agreement not to release a film within one week of McDonalds biopic

Last Updated: February 7, 2017 @ 6:33 PM

A subsidiary of film finance and distribution company FilmNation is suing The Weinstein Company for $15 million, claiming the independent studio violated an agreement by releasing its film “Gold” just one week after “The Founder.”

According to the lawsuit, Speedee Distribution, a wholly owned subsidiary of FilmNation, entered into an agreement with TWC in November 2015 to co-finance and distribute “The Founder,” a film about the life of McDonalds founder Ray Kroc starring Michael Keaton in the title role. As part of the deal, Speedee would put up most of the film’s $25 million production budget.

Also part of that deal, TWC agreed “not to initially theatrical[ly] release (or cause to be released) another motion picture in the U.S. from the period commencing the ‘weekend’ before the initial theatrical release date of [The Founder] and continuing through the ‘weekend’ following the initial theatrical release date of [The Founder],” the complaint said. In the case of a breach, TWC would pay Speedee either the sum total of its post-production prints and advertising commitment or $15 million, whichever was greater.

On or before Nov. 22, 2016, FilmNation learned that TWC intended to release its film “Gold,” starring Matthew McConaughey, on Jan. 27, 2017, just seven days after “The Founder” would hit theaters — and in contravention of their agreement. (Both films had limited December releases for awards purposes, but those didn’t count toward the agreement between Speedee and TWC.)  That day, Speedee’s attorneys wrote a letter to TWC informing the studio it would breach the contract if it stuck to that release schedule.

“The Founder” ended up coming out on Jan. 20 and “Gold” seven days later, prompting Monday’s lawsuit.

Pamela Chelin contributed reporting to this article.