Lawsuit Features Accounting Practices of a Nicolas Cage Film

By Ken Berry 

Nicolas Cage has faced plenty of tax troubles in the past. The IRS has been chasing after the renowned actor for tax debts for years. According to the Business Insider, he currently owes over $14 million. Now a new lawsuit is targeting the accounting practices of one of his films.
 
Cage starred in the Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans, a crime drama released in 2009. The film garnered some critical acclaim but wasn't a success at the box office.  According to an article posted on December 9 by The Hollywood Reporter, Polsky Films, a film production company founded by brothers Alan and Gabe Polsky, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Nu Image and First Look Studios.  
 
Here's the gist of what the complaint says: Polsky Films spent $1.3 million to finance and advertise the movie for domestic distribution. As part of the financing agreement, the two studios were required to pay all U.S. proceeds from the film into a separate bank account. The agreement limited deductions to home video packaging, freight, and delivery expenses.
 
Once the funds were funneled into the bank account, the proceeds were supposed to be distributed based on a specific plan. Besides reimbursing its own prints and advertising (P&A) contributions, Nu Image wasn't permitted to pocket any money until residuals, bank financing, and the Polskys' own P&A contributions were recovered.
 
But that's not what happened according to the complaint. The Polskys say that the studios failed to properly establish the collection account, and exhibitors and licensees didn't pay proceeds into it. Instead, they allege that expenses were improperly deducted, proceeds weren't disbursed, and the funds weren't accurately and truthfully accounted for.
 
Avi Lerner, head of Nu Image, and Trevor Short, former CEO of First Look Studios, were named as codefendants in the complaint. The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants fabricated P&A expenses for their own benefit and to the detriment of the plaintiffs. The Polskys are demanding compensatory damages and, as a result of the breach, are also seeking to be awarded the distribution rights to the film.
 
Related articles:
 

You may like these other stories...

IRS audits less than 1 percent of big partnershipsAccording to an April 17 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the IRS audits fewer than 1 percent of large business partnerships, Stephen Ohlemacher of the...
Legislation coming out of Washington just might reduce homeowners' burden for disaster insurance. It's a topic very much on everyone's minds since the mudslide in Oso, Washington. The loss of human life was...
Divorce is hard, and the IRS isn't going to make it any easier. The IRS generally says "no" to tax deductions that might ease the pain of divorce. In certain circumstances, however, you might be able to salvage...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.