Spanish distributor Manga Films has filed a suit against Miramax in a Barcelona court claiming non-completion of a distribution agreement for Quentin Tarantino's two-volume Kill Bill.
According to Manga president Luis de Val, the two companies signed an agreement last November for theatrical and video/DVD rights in Spain on both volumes of the film.
Since then, Miramax is said to have contracted the same rights to Buena Vista International (BVI), which is expected to release Volume One in Spain on March 5.
Manga is asking to still be paid the percentage commission on the Spanish box office and video/DVD receipts of the film originally accorded under the November agreement, which did not entail an advance payment on rights.
It also seeks retribution for damages to the company's image over the broken agreement. De Val points out that Manga already invested in the premiere and promotion of the first volume of Kill Bill at the local Sitges International Film Festival (Nov 27-Dec 7), where the film shared an audience award.
The announcement of the lawsuit is timed with the start of the AFM, where de Val plans to meet with Miramax this week. "We made this move before the premiere of the film in Spain to protect our reputation with clients and exhibitors, and to show Miramax that we are serious about what we've been discussing these past few months and about this suit."
"There is still time to withdraw [the suit] if Miramax offers a compensation which interests us," he added. In a statement, Manga said that "compensations offered by Miramax were neither accepted nor considered by Manga Films, which has finally decided to put the case in the hands of the Spanish courts."
De Val declined to comment on what compensation had been offered, or on Manga's anticipated commission or expenses to-date on Kill Bill.
Miramax began looking for a new distributor in Spain last year when relations with longtime local all-rights distributor Lauren Films soured. It signed a multi-year agreement with BVITV for Spanish TV rights on at least 17 films per year, and a separate package of high-profile new titles to BVI for theatrical and video/DVD in Spain.
Miramax and Lauren came to an agreement in December on 18 as-yet unreleased titles previously acquired and a decade's worth of library titles.