Harry Shearer Sues over "Spinal Tap" Profits

Posted on: October 18th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Danny Martindale/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Harry Shearer, the longtime Simpsons voice star who along with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and director Rob Reiner created the legendary mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, has sued the studio that owns the rights to the movie over millions in lost profits. 

According to a video tweet from Shearer, Vivendi, has ripped off the movie’s creators off for years. “….Between 1984 and 2006, Canal, a French subsidiary of Vivendi reports that our share of merchandise income worldwide for This Is Spinal Tap is 81 dollars,” Shearer said, repeating, “81 dollars for 22 years.”

Music sales between 1989-2006 totaled an alleged 98 dollars — “enough to buy a minature Stonehenge,” Shearer quipped, referring one of the movie’s signature bits. 

Shearer is suing the “major multinational” for fraud — to the tune of $125 million, according to the suit. The movie’s original contract stipulated that the core four involved were to receive 40% of the profits since its release.

So called “Hollywood accounting” tricks sometimes manage to make hit movies seem less profitable on paper than they actually were, with the studio taking the difference. In the case of the studio here, Shearer claims Vivendi et al claimed Tap was never profitable at all — despite two theatrical releases and sales from Beta to Blu-ray and beyond, the actor claims.

The low budget film has been a cult hit since its 1984 release; the fake band reformed for a 1992 album and concert tour behind its Break Like the Wind record. 

Shearer posted his tweet with the hashtags #fairnessrocks, adding “Time for #fairplayfairpay @Vivendi, @studiocanal & @canalplus.”

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