The troubles surrounding Johnny Depp continue. One of his latest movies, City of Lies, was set to be released next month but was recently pulled by the studio just before its debut with virtually no explanation provided. Now, Global Road Entertainment and Miramax are being sued for millions of dollars as the Israeli bank that financed the movie is looking to collect money that was guaranteed to them as a result of the financing deal.
The suits were filed in Los Angeles federal court by Bank Leumi. $23.2 million was borrowed by Good Films to finance City of Lies, which centers on the murder investigations surrounding Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G, with Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker toplining the cast. Open Road made a guarantee of $5.4 million for the theatrical rights, with Miramax getting the TV rights and, for their part, guaranteed $4.25 million. Since the movie has yet to see a release of any kind, no money has been recouped and, as a result, the lawsuit was filed. Here's some of what's stated in the suit.
"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'). 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). 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)."
The studios have still yet to provide an official answer as to why they aren't going to release City of Lies. A trailer had already been released, but the marketing push was very minimal up to this point. Johnny Depp has had more than his share of trouble in recent years, with allegations of abuse from his now ex-wife Amber Heard and his issues with alcohol. One of the biggest problems, as it relates to this movie, is a lawsuit from Gregg Brooks, who served as the movie's location manager. Brooks recently filed a lawsuit and accusing Depp of assault and battery on the set in April 2017, which the actor has denied. Still, a new report claims that marketing the movie because of Depp would be a challenge right now. The suit further states the following.
"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."
For now, there is no word on a future release strategy for City of Lies. Originally, the Brad Furman-directed movie was set to arrive on September 7. It's quite possible this is something that could be dumped to a streaming service in order to try and recoup some of the money. Outside of this debacle, Johnny Depp will next be seen on the big screen in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on November 16. The Wrap previously reported the news of this lawsuit.