Fahrenheit 9/11 remains the only documentary to break $100 million at the domestic box office, and stands at the top of the format with $222 million worldwide. Surely there was a lot of money to be made from that venture, and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore claims he still hasn’t received his due. Moore filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court earlier today that accuses producerial brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein of “Hollywood accounting tricks” and “financial deception” that cheated the director out of at least $2.7 million.
The suit cites a 2008 audit that discovered gross irregularities in the accounting at the expense of Mr. Moore, and further claims the alleged damages could be even higher than $2.7 million if a more thorough audit were possible. After the jump, read statements from both sides.
Weinstein lawyer Bert Fields dismissed the claims to THR:
“The Weinsteins have paid everything they should have paid. Mr. Moore has received a huge amount of money from this film and we believe he is overreaching. He should be ashamed of himself.”
Moore’s lawyer Larry Stein countered with similarly impassioned language:
“It’s very sad it had to come to this. Michael believes the Weinsteins have been a force for good when it comes to championing independent film — but that does not give them the right to violate a contract and take money that isn’t theirs. The $2.7 million is just the floor of what we believe is owed. When this goes to discovery I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount of what was taken goes much, much higher.”
The Weinsteins have executive produced Moore’s last three films — Fahrenheit, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story. But apparent love lost on both sides seems likely to sour what was once a powerful relationship in independent filmmaking.