It was announced today that Tommy Lee Jones, who, ultimately, turned out to be a completely useless character in No Country for Old Men, is suing Paramount Pictures, the makers of No Country for Old Men, for over $10 million dollars from the film.
Jones is asking for “significant box-office bonuses” and other compensation he says are owed to him from the Oscar-winning movie, which went on to make over $160 million. Apparently, according to him, there were known errors in his contract as the film went into production, and he wants an external auditor to look things over and assess what he is owed.
How come every year lawsuits come up like this? Maybe it’s not that uncommon as there are plenty of B2B contracts that go to court, but it always seems like some big name actor or director (I’m thinking of Peter Jackson here) is suing a studio over money that wasn’t paid to them. You have to think that in the day and age of immediate visibility and legal scrutiny that major disputes – such as over millions of unpaid dollars – wouldn’t happen. How does this happen? Are the studios simply naive to think that people who are used to making millions of dollars a paycheck won’t notice if they aren’t paid? Or do the plaintiffs and their lawyers not examine their contract enough? Either way, isn’t the contract supposed to clearly define the amount or percentage an actor, writer, director or crewman is supposed to make?
It seems clear cut to me, but then again, I don’t work in Hollywood.