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John Singleton Sues Paramount, MTV Films for $20 Million

John Singleton is going after Paramount and MTV Films.

John Singleton is going after MTV Films and Paramount Pictures—alleging the companies have not owned up to a film deal hatched during the Sundance Film Festival six years ago.

Here’s the beef: Singleton says that he entered into a deal with Paramount to distribute “Hustle and Flow” for $9 million, and in exchange, Paramount would finance and distribute two additional films.

Paramount agreed, as long as the additional films did not cost more than $3.5 million each, according to Singleton’s lawsuit. In 2006, Singleton says he gave Paramount the distribution rights to the film “Black Snake Moan,” a Samuel L. Jackson/Christina Ricci flick.

However, when Singleton’s production company Crunk Pictures approached Paramount to option other films, Paramount didn’t want to play ball.

“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.

Paramount said in a statement that it “was hoping that John Singleton would produce two more pictures before his agreement with our studio ended in 2010, but that did not happen. Instead, he went on to direct `Abduction’ for Lions Gate.”

Paramount’s excuse doesn’t fly Singleton’s attorney Martin Singer argues. Singer says the Paramount deal expired when Singleton began work on “Abduction.”

In a statement, attorney Singer said: “For Paramount to try to make his work on that film an issue now – having never raised it before – is typical of the lengths to which the studio will go in its desperate attempt to evade its legal and moral responsibilities.”

John Singleton wants to take this matter to court; Paramount says there is no case.

Stay tuned.