"Hustle & Flow" producer John Singleton filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures and MTV Films Wednesday, claiming that they reneged on elements of the deal that they struck at the Sundance Film Festival for the 2005 film.
According to the suit, Singleton allowed Paramount to distribute the film in exchange for a modest $9 million fee, provided they finance and distribute two other films. (The suit alleges that Paramount agreed to this, provided the follow-ups didn't cost more than $3.5 million each.)
The suit further states that, because of the agreement, Singleton gave Paramount the distribution rights to the 2006 Samuel L. Jackson/Christina Ricci film "Black Snake Moan."
But the suit alleges that, when Singleton's production company, Crunk Pictures, tried to exercise its options on the two films, Paramount gave him the runaround.
"Unfortunately, when Crunk attempted to exercise its right to 'put' the two pictures with Paramount, Paramount began asserting self-imposed, non-existent conditions on the 'puts' that prevented Singleton from making the pictures," the suit reads.
And Singleton is unhappy about it — particularly, no doubt, because the "Hustle & Flow" turned a tidy profit, earning more than $23 million worldwide on a $2.8 budget.
Moreover, Singleton claims, he passed on a number of other, potentially more lucrative deals for "Hustle & Flow" because of Paramount's promise.
Singleton, who claims fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and breach of implied covenant, is seeking no less than $20 million in the suit.
Paramount did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment on the suit.