May 26, 2006
Commerce 1, Artistic Integrity 0
Film auteur Woody Allen lost a round in his long-standing contract dispute with former best friend Jean Doumanian, producer of six of Allen's films. New York state judge Bernard Fried ruled that under the terms of a 2003 settlement agreement, Doumanian has the right to edit the six films for television and airline use. Doumanian wants to overdub offensive words, while Allen insisted on using bleeps to cover them up.
The six films, which came out from 1995-1999, are Bullets Over Broadway (with John Cusack), Mighty Aphrodite (Helena Bonham Carter, Mira Sorvino), Everyone Says I Love You (Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, Alan Alda), Deconstructing Harry (Robin Williams, Jennifer G arner), Sweet and Lowdown (Sean Penn, Uma Thurman),and Celebrity (Leonardo di Caprio, Charlize Theron, Winona Ryder, Melanie Griffith, Kenneth Branagh). Allen claimed in 2001 that Doumanian and her partner had skimmed $12 million in profits from the films.
If true, it would have been an impressive feat, since according to the web site Box Office Mojo the six had a combined total lifetime domestic gross of about $48 million, or less than 2/3 of what The Da Vinci Code grossed just last weekend. Doumanian had counterclaimed for $19 million she said Allen owed her.
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