Global Road, Miramax Sued by Bank Over Refusal to Release ‘City of Lies’

Johnny Depp’s Biggie, Tupac thriller was pulled from studio’s schedule earlier this month

Johnny Depp City of Lies
Global Road Entertainment

Bank Leumi filed lawsuits against Global Road Entertainment and Miramax on Wednesday over their refusal to release the Johnny Depp movie “City of Lies.”

The suits filed in Los Angeles federal court claim that the Israeli bank is owed millions in unpaid guarantees on the real-life crime drama.

Earlier this month, the film about the murder investigations surrounding Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G was pulled from the studio schedule just a month before it was set to hit theaters.

Good Films obtained $23.2 million in loans from Bank Leumi to produce the film, which was directed by Brad Furman, written by Christian Contreras and based on the novel by Randall Sullivan. According to the lawsuit, Open Road agreed to distribute the film domestically and pay a minimum $5.4 million guarantee directly to the bank, with Miramax getting the TV rights for a $4.25 million guarantee.

“A portion of the minimum guaranty, $5,949,609.85, was contingent upon Open Road fulfilling its commitment to release the Picture theatrically in the domestic territories in no fewer than 1,800 theatres with a P&A expenditure of no less than $10,000,000 (the “Sony Minimum Release Criteria Payment”),” the suit states.

“However, neither Open Road nor Miramax has paid the balance of its Minimum Guarantee due upon delivery of the Picture (they did pay deposits of 10% of their Minimum Guarantees as required by the IPA),” it continued. “Furthermore, Open Road has informed Good Films that it does not intend to release the Picture at all, thereby failing to satisfy its Release Commitment and, accordingly, interfering with Sony’s obligation to pay the Minimum Release Criteria Payment (assigned by Good Films to Bank Leumi).”

Both legal filings state: “To date, neither Open Road nor Miramax has paid its Minimum Guarantee. However, neither has stated any defense to payment under the IPA. And, as of this filing, Bank Leumi is owed principal of $19,427,101.87, along with interest of $273,533.62, for a total of $19,700,635.49, under the Loan Agreement.”

The film was set to be released in North America by Global Road Entertainment on Sept. 7, however, the studio chose to put the movie on hold as marketing such a film with Depp as a star would be a challenge right now, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap at the time.

Last month, Gregg “Rocky” Brooks, the film’s location manager, filed a lawsuit and accusing Depp of assault and battery on the set in April 2017; Depp has vehemently denied the accusations.

The thriller looks at the murder of The Notorious B.I.G. shortly after the death of Tupac. Depp’s character, disgraced LAPD Detective Russell Poole has spent years trying to solve the crime, while Jackson (played by Forest Whitaker) is a reporter desperate for answers.

Global Road’s film division was effectively taken over by its creditors last week, after previously operating under the control of CEO Rob Friedman. It is now looking to sell off finished movies to recoup investments and stave off bankruptcy, a knowledgeable insider told TheWrap.

“The Silence,” a horror film lead by “Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka, the live action-animation hybrid “Playmobil” and “City of Lies” are among the projects on the market, said the insider.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.