There is, as the joke goes, two kinds of accounting. The real kind and Hollywood’s. As long as the sun shines on the planet, creatives and studios will argue about what the real gross was and what the net profit is supposed to be. Generally speaking, the more successful the film the more competing parties will disagree on who owes whom, what and when.
Case in point: Marvel Enterprises which is once again suing Sony Pictures over what it says are huge sums of money the latter owes the former from the Men in Black franchise.
In its most recent salvo, Marvel says Sony employed “Hollywood accounting” to deprive it of $6 million of merchandising royalties on Men in Black-related properties.
In a suit filed in L.A. Superior Court on Thursday, Marvel claims that although MIB grossed $493 million at the worldwide box office and the sequel MIB II grossed $275 million, Sony accounting says the films actually lost money. Marvel’s suit alleges that by doing that, Sony is guilty of accounting irregularities such as unexplained and excessive charges for advertising and overhead. Marvel further claims that under various contractual agreements it is due 35% of all merchandising income and 50% of income from merchandising of interactive rights, less fees.
The suit seeks, among other things, damages of not less than $6 million. Marvel is represented by Carole Handler of O’Donnell & Shaeffer, who also filed Marvel’s suit against Sony involving Spider-Man. A Sony spokeswoman, quoted in today’s Daily Variety says: “We haven’t seen the complaint. This is the first we’ve heard of it.”