By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter
On the verge of jury trial, Kevin Costner has settled a lawsuit that accused Morgan Creek Productions of hiding profits from him for the 1991 hit Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The actor sued in July 2012, taking a bold shot against the independent studio. “Every actor hopes to star in a great movie that makes substantial profits,” the lawsuit stated. “But if you’re hoping to earn profits based on the success of your film and you want to be paid on a timely basis, then one company you certainly do not want to do business with is Defendant Morgan Creek Productions.”
According to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Costner claimed he got no profit participation statements in 2010 and 2011 and late statements from 2004 to 2009. He accused Morgan Creek of diverting money by assigning foreign distribution rights on Robin Hood from Morgan Creek to a foreign company owned by Morgan Creek CEO James Robinson. The rights were sold as a package, and Costner objected to the allocation of fees for every movie in this package, regardless of performance. The lawsuit included other accounting claims on behalf of Costner, who was entitled to 15 percent of the adjusted gross receipts of the picture in excess of $100 million, plus further participation on home distribution.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, Robinson told THR that Morgan Creek had been “very straight” with Costner over the years.
On the road to trial, Costner lost a fraudulent concealment claim that would have entitled him to punitive damages. The actor’s lawyers went several rounds with the judge in an attempt to convince the judge that Morgan Creek should be tried for intentionally failing to disclose “truthful, accurate, full, and complete” revenue information on profit participation statements. But the judge ruled this summer that Costner was unable to demonstrate “harm above and beyond a broken contractual promise.”
Costner also failed at a conversation claim, leading to the prospect that a trial scheduled to begin on Aug. 18 would merely examine whether Morgan Creek breached contract by failing to pay him the full amount of due money.
The parties told the judge on Friday that the case has been settled. An attorney for Morgan Creek confirms the settlement, adding he couldn’t discuss the terms.
Robin Hood grossed about $390 million when it came out in theaters. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Robinson said that Costner had already been paid more than $40 million for his work on the film.