‘Spinal Tap’ Fraud Suit Balloons to $400 Million Claim; Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean Sign On

Stars of 1984 mockumentary claim an array of financial misdeeds

Last Updated: February 8, 2017 @ 10:32 AM

The guys from Spinal Tap are getting the old band back together — to sue the pants off of Vivendi.

“This Is Spinal Tap” stars Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner and Michael McKean have joined their cohort Harry Shearer in his lawsuit against Vivendi — and they’re asking for a bundle.

The First Amended Complaint filed in federal court in California on Tuesday says that Shearer and crew are “seeking not less than $400 million in compensatory and punitive damages.”

Shearer, who played Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls in the 1984 mockumentary, initially filed his lawsuit in October, asking for at least $125 million. Shearer claims that Vivendi, which eventually ended up with rights relating to the film, has engaged in “anti-competitive and unfair business practices,” and “willfully concealed and manipulated years of accountings to retain monies due and owing to plaintiff.”

The amended complaint claims that, “according to Vivendi, the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income between 1984 and 2013 was $81.” Yes, just $81. Between 1989 and 2006 total income from music sales was just $98, the plaintiff also claimed. “Over the past three years, Vivendi has failed to provide accounting statements at all,” the complaint read.

Among the alleged financial chicanery: Failure to provide accounting statements; improper business expenses; failure to account for a $1.6 million settlement received from MGM Home Video over underreported home sales revenues; undocumented marketing and promotion expenses “allegedly incurred years after the release totaling over $2.5 million”; and failure to collect merchandising revenues.

The First Amended Complaint claims that “the suit as already been successful in inspiring other artists to speak out for fairness in the film, music and merchandising industries.”

Like Shearer’s initial complaint, the amended filing alleges fraud, breach of contract and other counts.

Vivendi had no comment on Shearer’s lawsuit when contacted upon the initial filing.

Pamela Chelin contributed to his report.