Spinal Tap actors sue Vivendi over film rights

The four actors who played the main parts in the fictional band, Spinal Tap, in the film This is Spinal Tap, are suing Vivendi, the company that has owned the film rights since 1989, for not accounting properly and for money they claim they are owed.  The claim is for US$400m.

The film, which had a shoestring budget of US$2.25m, was released in 1984 and became a global cult classic.

The four claim Vivendi manipulated accounting data, while ignoring contractually obligated accounting and reporting processes, to deny them their rightful stake in the film’s profits. The complaint alleges that between 1989 and 2006, Vivendi reported that the total income from soundtrack music sales was just US$98.

The suit also claims that Vivendi reported that the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income between 1984 and 2006 was US$81, despite music and merchandise linked to the film racking up “tens of millions of dollars” in revenue.

“The movie’s influence on the last three decades of film comedy is something we are very proud of,” Michael McKean, who played the part of guitarist David St. Hubbins, was quoted as saying. “But the buck always stopped somewhere short of Rob, Harry, Chris and myself. It’s time for a reckoning. It’s only right.”

Contractual Disputes Barrister - myBarrister