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Producers File Suit Over MGM’s ‘Rescue Dawn’

Allege breach of contract over 2007 Werner Herzog war drama

Thema Productions has sued Top Gun Productions over receipts for the 2007 MGM film "Rescue Dawn," alleging that the latter failed to account for the film’s revenues in certain foreign territories and accusing its agent of wrongfully pocketing $60,000. 

The complaint, filed Monday in L.A. Superior Court, charges breach of contract, breach of implied good faith and fair dealing, declaratory relief and accounting. 

Top Gun’s managing company, Gibraltar Entertainment, also is named in the suit as an "intended beneficiary."

A 2006 production agreement between London-based Thema and Top Gun grants Thema certain distribution rights to the war drama — directed by Werner Herzog and starring Christian Bale — in exchange for a $4 million minimum guarantee.

The companies agreed to set up a collection account where gross receipts would be deposited and appropriately disbursed. Thema wants Top Gun to get MGM to open its books regarding the picture’s complex accounting, including foreign revenues it says were not properly accounted for.

Thema also claims that Top Gun has refused to cooperate with a proposed audit of the MGM distribution deal, to which Thema is contractually entitled.

The suit also claims that Top Gun’s agent, Steve Marlton, wrongfully diverted a $60,000 payment from Jetstream into his own pockets, when it was meant to be deposited into the collection account.

Thema wants Top Gun to pay that $60,000, plus interest, into the collection account, as well as damages and legal fees.

"Rescue Dawn" opened to critical acclaim and earned nearly $5.5 million domestically, taking in an additional $1.6 million at the foreign box office.

Attorneys for Thema did not immediately respond to messages left by TheWrap Wednesday afternoon. Representation for Top Gun could not be found.