Oscar-nominated director John Singleton is suing Paramount Pictures and MTV Films for a minimum of $20 million under his claim that the studios breached a 2005 contract, EW has confirmed. Singleton alleges that the companies reneged on a promise to finance and distribute two of his films in exchange for distribution rights to Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan. Singleton says he sold them the rights to Hustle & Flow for a reduced $9 million fee in exchange for their promise to back and greenlight two forthcoming features budgeted on or under $3.5 million. After Hustle & Flow‘s tremendous success (the film netted an Oscar for Best Original Song), Singleton claims his increasingly complex negotiations with Paramount forced him to to pass on deals with other companies and, thus, negatively impacted him financially.
In response to Singleton’s suit, Paramount issued a statement today: “Paramount 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 Lionsgate. Paramount fulfilled all of its obligations and his claims have absolutely no merit.”