July 03, 2014 Deadline Hollywood

Benderspink Claims Fraud, Sues For Profits On Ashton Kutcher Pic ‘The Butterfly Effect’

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Benderspink Claims Fraud, Sues For Profits On Ashton Kutcher Pic ‘The Butterfly Effect’

By THE DEADLINE TEAM | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 7:42pm PDT

Raise your hand if you remember this 2004 flick in which Ashton Kutcher suffered trauma-induced blackouts. Well, a new lawsuit says Benderspink was blacked out from profits generated by The Butterfly Effect, and the company wants its share. The suit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here) names defendants including production companies FilmEngine Entertainment, Roulette Entertainment and Highwire Films along with Anthony Rhulen, who it names as president and/or CEO of all three. Benderspink says it had a deal for 50% of the movie’s theatrical and ancillary profits but for years was told the pic remained in the red. Then in 2012, “Benderspink learned from a third party that Defendants had completed an audit of the Picture’s distributor [New Line, which is not named in the suit] and received a substantial payment” that put Butterfly Effect in the black. The suit says the plaintiffs “contacted Defendants and requested a profit participation report and payment of all monies owed to it. For more than one year, Defendants stonewalled Benderspink’s numerous requests.” In January, the suit claims, Benderspink received its first participation statement on the film, which the company describes as “a one-page top sheet that indicated the Picture was not profitable.” The suit adds that the company has sought access to the defendants’ pertinent books and records and that “these requests have been ignored by Defendants.”

The plaintiffs allege fraud and breach of written contract and seek a jury trial to recover unspecified damages. Bryan Freedman and Jordan Susman of LA’s Freedman + Taitelman are Benderspink’s attorneys in the case.