The foursome behind the “Spinal Tap” mockumentary — Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner — should have the volume of their $400 million suit against Vivendi turned down to zero, the company said on Wednesday.
Vivendi’s StudioCanal unit, which owns the movie, asked a judge to toss the suit.
The four filed suit last year claiming they were stiffed out of millions of dollars in music sales and merchandising income related to the 1984 movie.
So far, they have pocketed only $189 for music sales and merchandising income related to the 1984 movie, they said in the suit.
But in a stinging rebuttal to the breach of contract suit, Vivendi said in court papers filed this week that, while it has “genuine admiration” for the foursome’s talent, they need a “reality check.”
“Plaintiffs may not like the fact that they have not received anything close to the $400 million in contingent compensation that their complaint absurdly claims they should have received,” Vivendi said in a motion to dismiss, which it filed in Los Angeles federal court on Monday.
“But that is only because the movie they made has not generated anywhere near the revenue necessary to pay them anything close to that sum,” the motion said.
In fact, movie Web site IMDb puts the gross of “This is Spinal Tap” at $4.7 million.
Vivendi also alleged the film’s four creators aren’t qualified to sue over contingent-compensation complaints. That right, it said, belongs solely to an entity named Spinal Tap Productions, or STP.
STP is owned by Shearer, Guest, McKean and Reiner.
Peter Haviland, a lawyer for the foursome, said that sort of “quibbling” is what gave rise to the suit in the first place. “Vivendi’s bogus accounting practices will be exposed,” he told The Post.
But Vivendi countered that, even if STP’s owners had piggyback rights, they failed to follow protocol before filing their amended complaint in February. source