John Singleton produced Hustle & Flow, which was the hottest commodity coming out of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Despite New Line Cinema offering $10 million, John Singleton took Paramount's deal for $9 million for Hustle & Flow. He accepted less money because Paramount's deal included a "put" clause, where the studio promised to finance and distribute two movies John Singleton chose to produce, budgeted under $3.5 million. Six years later, Paramount hasn't made either of the two pictures under the deal, which is why John Singleton is suing. Here's what he had to say about the lawsuit below.
"I'd always had a great relationship with Paramount, going back to being an intern on the lot when I was at USC. But a deal's a deal and they didn't honor the deal. I could have sold Hustle & Flow for more money to someone else, but Paramount promised something special - giving me the ability to make two low-budget films with young filmmakers and great talent. All I've ever done is make money for Paramount. I've lived up to all the deals I've signed and it should work both ways."
Paramount Pictures responded to the lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday morning, with the following statement.
"Paramount was hoping that John Singleton would produce two more pictures before his agreement with our studio ended in 2010, but that did not happen. Instead, he went on to direct Abduction for Lionsgate. Paramount fulfilled all of its obligations and his claims have absolutely no merit."
John Singleton reportedly pitched numerous projects to the studio, none of which they showed any interest in making.
"They just kept thwarting my efforts to make any of the movies. I gave them a number of projects and they were all rejected. It became plain that they weren't going to honor the deal."
John Singleton put up the $5 million budget for Hustle & Flow himself, when he couldn't find financing, while also mentoring first-time director Craig Brewer. Hustle & Flow went on to earn $22 million at the domestic box office, launching the careers of both actor Terrence Howard, who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, and director Craig Brewer.