One movie producer is suing two others over compensation and anticipated profits he alleges he is entitled to share in from the upcoming action thriller “The Protégé.”
Yoram Pelman’s Van Nuys Superior Court lawsuit against Moshe Diamant and Christopher Milburn alleges breach of an implied-in-fact contract, detrimental reliance and both intentional and negligent representation.
Pelman seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit brought Monday.
Representatives for Diamont and Milburn could not be immediately reached.
Pelman was the executive producer and financier for the 1998 film “Just the Ticket,” which was written by Richard Wenk and starred Andy Garcia and Andie McDowell, the suit states.
Wenk also wrote the screenplays for the Denzel Washington films “The Equalizer” and “The Equalizer 2.”
In June 2018, Pelman was given the rights to shop a Wenk screenplay originally entitled “Anna” that was later the basis for “The Protégé,” which is scheduled to be released Aug. 20 and stars Michael Keaton, Maggie Q and Samuel L. Jackson, the suit states.
Pelman contacted Diamant and said he wanted to produce the movie with Diamant and Milburn, the suit states. Diamant said he wanted to read the screenplay, so in July 2018 he mailed it to Diamant, who later said he liked it, according to the suit.
Pelman subsequently had a meeting with Diamant and another producer, Arthur Sarkissian, during which Diamant said that he liked the Wenk screenplay and had the financial resources to produce a film with the plaintiff and Milburn, the suit states.
Within days, Diamant started negotiating with Sarkissian concerning Chinese production company Seven Star Media’s investment in the picture and its interest in selling its share, the suit states.
Pelman, Diamant and Milburn signed a memo in late August 2018 providing that they would each share equally in the fees and film credits for media projects the three developed with each individual project needing to be affirmed in writing by Milburn, the suit states.
Before the signing, Diamant submitted two additional film projects to Pelman to produce with Diamant and Milburn and both ventures were specified in writing in the overall agreement, the suit states.
Pelman did not hear from Diamant for many months regarding any progress on “The Protégé,” and he later found out from Wenk in April 2019 that Diamant was producing the movie for Millennium Films, which is owned by Avi Lerner, the project’s financier, according to the suit.
Diamant, contacted by Pelman, said he had nothing to do with the film and that Lerner was producing it with Lerner’s son, the suit states.
The representations was false because Diamant concealed the fact that both he and Milburn were, in fact, producers on the film and would receive producing fees and film credits, the suit states.
Pelman believes that Diamant and Milburn each received at least $400,000 in producer fees, credits as producers and, after release of the picture, additional compensation amounting to 10% of the film’s expected net profits, the suit states.
Diamant told Pelman in late 2019 that he would be paid when the film was finished, but the promise was untrue and to date, the plaintiff has not received any money, according to the suit.
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