Official Web Site http://www.miramax.com/chicago/index.html
'Chicago' producer sues Miramax for $10M
March 20, 2006
A producer of the Academy Award-winning movie Chicago filed a $10 million lawsuit Monday against Miramax Films Corp., accusing it of failing to his company its share of hundred of millions of dollars the movie earned.
Chicago won Oscars for best-picture, supporting actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Colleen Atwood's costumes.
The Producer Circle Co. says in its lawsuit it is the owner of the film rights to the musical Chicago, a Broadway hit of the 1970s that Miramax agreed to produce with PCC as a movie. PCC said it was to receive part of the film's gross.
Martin Richards, founder and principal of PCC, says in court papers he and Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein were producers of Chicago. The movie opened in December 2002 and became "the highest grossing and most profitable movie ever released by Miramax," court papers say. It won six Oscars including best picture, with Richards collecting the producer award.
Miramax spokeswoman Emily Baer said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.
The film, which starred Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger and was directed by Rob Marshall, was based on a play by the late Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb. They based their work on an earlier play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
The musical is about two women is 1920s Chicago who achieve celebrity and notoriety while awaiting trials on separate murder charges.
PCC said that although it believes the movie has grossed more than $300 million, Miramax has failed to pay PCC the percentage it is owed.
"While PCC is unable to determine with precision the amounts that it is owed, it estimates that Miramax' breach of contract has cost it no less than $10 million," court papers say.
Richards says he and his company were victims of Hollywood-style accounting in which two types of accounting occur at the same time: One type is for financial reporting purposes, and the other is for calculating how much individuals will get.
Those who get "gross profit" deals earn huge sums while those who get "net profit" deals — money that is left after many deductions and expenses — generally get nothing from a film's profits, court papers say.
The lawsuit says Miramax is trying to impose upon PCC a "net profits" deal that it never agreed to.
In addition, court papers say, PCC charges that Miramax has shortchanged PCC by not accounting for DVD sales, foreign distribution and other sources of income.
It is not clear how much Richards and his company have received, but court papers only mention $500,000 — $300,00 as a producing fee and $200,000 when the movie passed its "first cash break even level."
It’s a timeless tale crackling with crime and corruption … a sultry cinematic
sensation throbbing with murder and jazz and dripping with gin and sin.
In 2002, Miramax released the timeless classic Chicago as a major motion picture. The film, peppered with a star-studded cast of vixens and villains, features a soundtrack full of spicy hip-hop tracks and pop confections. Chicago took audiences and critics by surprise and became one of 2003’s biggest hits.
With Renée Zellweger cast as vulnerable villain Roxie Hart, Richard Gere as greasy lawyer Billy Flynn, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as brassy bombshell Velma Kelly, director Rob Marshall began an exhausting 6-week rehearsal “boot camp” to bring his star studded cast up to Broadway standards.
Richard Gere learned how to tap dance, Catherine Zeta-Jones found a decade old dancing groove was still intact, and Renée Zellweger learned to sing and dance with the best of them.
The passionate cast – and crew – went full force, sacrificing sleep and battering their bodies to achieve perfection.
Catherine Zeta-Jones recalls working “right through the night.” “I'm the kind of person who likes to go to be early and, and wake up early. I don't usually do splits at 3:00 in the morning,” she told VH1.
In order to appeal to a new generation of movie musical audiences, the Chicago cast was sprinkled with hip-hop and pop sensations like Queen Latifah and Mya. The soundtrack also contains bonus tracks with artists like Macy Gray, Lil’ Kim and Anastacia.
And when Chicago was released in December 2002, the twenties tale did in fact introduce a whole new generation to the villains and vixens of vaudeville. Behind The Movie shows you, through never-before-seen footage and interviews, how a film that almost never saw the light of day became the runaway hit of the year.
AFI picks best movie songs ever!
June 23, 2004
Kansas farm girl Dorothy Gale's wistful ditty in "The Wizard of Oz" led the American Film Institute's list of 100 best movie songs Tuesday, followed by "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca" at No. 2 and the title tune from "Singin' in the Rain" at No. 3.
Chosen from 400 nominees, the list was announced in the CBS special "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Songs," the institute's latest countdown to promote U.S. film history. The show's host was John Travolta, star of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease," whose "Summer Nights" came in at No. 70.
The earliest song to make the list was "Isn't It Romantic" (No. 73), sung by Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in 1932's "Love Me Tonight." The newest came from 2002 with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger's rendition of "All That Jazz" (No. 98) from "Chicago" and Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (No. 93) from "8 Mile."
Film Institute Weighs in on Best Movie Tunes
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
LOS ANGELES — Bing Crosby (search) and Judy Garland (search) will square off against Eminem (search) and Madonna (search) as the American Film Institute sounds out Hollywood on the 100 best songs in U.S. cinema.
The institute, whose previous annual top-100 lists included best American movies and last spring's best heroes and villains, has chosen 400 nominated tunes dating back to Al Jolson's "My Mammy" and "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" from 1927's "The Jazz Singer."
The most recent nominees include Eminem's "Lose Yourself" from last year's "8 Mile" (search) and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger's version of "All That Jazz" from last year's best-picture Academy Award winner, "Chicago."
Zellweger jazzes up 'Chicago'
Thursday, December 26, 2002
NEW YORK - No one was more scared of all that jazz than Renee Zellweger. She
thought she was the last woman on Earth who should be beltin' out songs and
hoofin' across stages in Rob Marshall's new movie version of Chicago.
Blame her brother.
"It started a long, long time ago in the shower," Zellweger says of her lack of confidence in her vocal abilities. She remembers singing along to Beatles records, especially to the Paul McCartney tunes, while her brother screamed "Shut up!" from outside the bathroom door.
"So I just had it in my head that I couldn't sing," says Zellweger, who is shy to a fault and not at all cocky about any of her abilities or her soft, sexy beauty.
Now, though, she has her sibling in perspective: "I just think he wanted to beat me up about anything and everything." And her brother, who worshipped McCartney, did not want anyone to blaspheme his hero, especially his then six-year-old sister singing in the shower. "I'm sure that had a lot to do with it," Zellweger says with a grin.
But traumas run deep, even with perspective. "Yeah, I never opened my mouth again. Then, in Empire Records (an obscure 1995 movie with a future all-star cast) I played a girl who is not a very good singer and who is too scared to sing and who hits one good note -- and that was it. That was the first singing experience that I had.
"And then there was the drunken karaoke moment in Bridget Jones's Diary (the 2001 movie that garnered her an Oscar nomination as best actress). That was a blast for me to do. And it was so bad. That's what my brother heard from the shower every day, in his mind."
So she initially turned down the role of lethal pixie Roxie Hart in Chicago, especially after reading Bill Condon's clever script, which had found a way to make the music make sense in the surreal story. Zellweger, however, could not figure it out. She didn't have the background in this case.
"I got a script and I read it and I didn't understand it at all. It didn't translate. I didn't know the musical. I had no idea so I thought it was probably a very, very bad idea that I should become involved in something that I had absolutely no idea what it means."
Her manager, however, would not let her off the hook. He insisted Zellweger meet with Marshall. Like most people who encounter the bubbly Marshall, Zellweger discovered that he is both a Broadway guru and an astonishingly nice guy. Marshall also knew instinctively how to soothe Zellweger's concerns and get them on the same wavelength.
"He clarified some things," Zellweger says, "and we had the same taste in films and we had the same idea of what makes the musical good and what makes certain films interesting. From that moment on, I really didn't care (about my fears). I just liked him so much. He is inspiring as a person. He is so kind. He is so clever. This creative genius was right there at the table. I just knew."
Not that it was easy to do the work when the time came on set in Toronto. Zellweger was scheduled to arrive after others, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, had already started in on their work in rehearsals. Zellweger was afraid.
"Those stairs in those high-heel shoes!" Zellweger says emphatically. "That was a challenge -- new-found respect for beauty contestants everywhere. I'm not kidding, okay! Please, God in heaven, you put that heel in the right place (or) it's ugly. Uuuuuuugly!"
Zeta-Jones says Zellweger's shyness and lack of confidence were misplaced. "Oh, she was fantastic. She worked hard. We all worked really hard."
Zellweger, says Zeta-Jones, soon emerged with the moxie for Roxie: "She flowered within days."
And, if Zellweger had been there at the beginning, she would have realized Zeta-Jones was not exactly brimming with confidence at the beginning either.
"I'm sure she was scared. But she should have seen me the first day," Zeta-Jones says. "I was scared!"
She remembers whining to the male dancers who had to work with her on some intricate numbers: "I'm too fat, you won't be able to hold me! You're going to drop me, you're going to break my neck and I'll have to be recast before I shoot a frame!"
Zeta-Jones did not break her neck. Zellweger did not fall down the stairs in her high heels. The two co-stars are terrific, with both nominated for Golden Globe awards. And Chicago kicks up its heels.
"I'm very proud of my friend Rob Marshall," Zellweger says in reacting to the movie overall.
As for her own work, she's still too shy to preen: "Oh God, I'm too close to it."
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