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TOPIC: Universal Thieves

Universal Thieves 20 Mar 2006 21:44 #25057

  • rdetzler
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Anyone else gotten ripped off by Universal lately. They just notified me that they are keeping the remainder of my advance on Kong as a 'guarantee'. Total BS. The pic doesn't meet expectations for them and they take on out on me. I did good numbers, they got no paperwork, nothing to stand on, but can I afford to sue this den of thieves? Boycott Universal, I am.
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Re: Universal Thieves 20 Mar 2006 22:27 #25058

  • muviebuf
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That's one thing we have being here in Pennsylvania - no advances or guarantees are permitted under state law. And all pictures must be screened before the studio may book the picture. I believe we are the only state in the nation with such a law.

The law had its genesis from a POS released by Paramount in 1984 called "Best Defense". Supposedly an Eddie Murphy movie (when he was on top) Best Defense actually only had Murphy in a cameo type role. Paramount refused to screen the picture before bidding and requested absurdly high guarantees.

Pennsylvania NATO - which at that time had a bit of clout amongst the state legislature - managed to get through the bill to protect theatre owners against not only this sort of thing but also other booking practices then common amongst the studios.

After the law passed the studios went NUTS and tried all sorts of legal challenges to various provisions of the law. Under the theory that the copyright act controlled, much of the Pennsylvania law prohibiting certain booking practices was eventually struck down - but the no advances and guarantees section still remains today.

I think that was the only time that I have ever heard of any NATO orgainization ever doing anything for exhibitors.
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Re: Universal Thieves 21 Mar 2006 07:46 #25059

  • Larry Thomas
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Although advances are permitted, guarantees are verboten by state law in both Ohio and Kentucky. And trade screenings are required in advance of making deals.
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Re: Universal Thieves 21 Mar 2006 07:48 #25060

  • rdetzler
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Thats a good law. Wish we had it. I also remember that film. What a ripoff! Even Eddie Murphy came out against it later, admitting that it was awful and that he did it for a pile of money.

No this whole dispute goes back to a year ago when I hd another Universal movie in house and my boiler failed. We had to close the building and they had to pull the print. They have never forigven me since and this is their of way of getting even. I think it was Along Came Polly or some other Universal POS.

Have you seen their calendar this year? They got nothing anyway, not like I'm gonna miss them. I could get more people to show up playing old Ed Wood films.
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Re: Universal Thieves 21 Mar 2006 22:21 #25061

  • rodeojack
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Might be a good idea to see if you can find someone else in the company to talk to. You'll burn up a lot of energy being pissed at them... but they won't give you a second thought. Better to find some way to play the game and come out ahead. It can be done.

In the past 20 years we've dealt with both guarantees and advances. Of the two or three guarantees we had to produce, one was for Madonna's "Who's That Girl?", a true POS that was delivered to us with a distorted monaural sound track.

"Million Dollar Mystery", Dino DiLaurentiis' full-length Glad Wrap commercial was another true black $$$ hole.

We don't do advances any more (guess 20 years in one place helps). Our state does require screenings, which we attend when interested. They have worked both to excite us about future releases and avoid some over-hyped bombs.
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Re: Universal Thieves 23 Mar 2006 15:34 #25062

  • RealButter
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This is an interesting thread. I have no clue what Massachusetts laws are regarding this. Can anyone advise me where to start looking?

Thanks,
Sandra
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Re: Universal Thieves 23 Mar 2006 15:40 #25063

  • rdetzler
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Believe me I have fought this all the way to the West Coast with my booker beside me. This is flat out harrassment over something that I had no control over a year ago. This is the only time since then I have ever been willing to pay them an advance (I really needed and was depending on Kong) because I figured there was no way Kong wouldn't earn it back. Well it didn't and they obviously saw this as a chance to get back the money they supposedly lost a year ago.

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