Animal Producer Murad Khetani Sues Bhushan Kumar Seeking Stay On Film’s OTT Release; T-Series Denies Any Wrong-doing- Filmyzilla

Producer Murad Khetani of Cine1 Studios has filed a legal case against Bhushan Kumar of T-Series for financial irregularity regarding the blockbuster movie Animal, which stars Ranbir Kapoor. Cine1 Studios has sought a stay from the Delhi High Court on the OTT release of the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Animal.

Sources reveal that the case was initiated after Cine1 Studios was not given 35 percent of the profit and 35 percent share in the Intellectual Property Rights of Animal, as per their contract.

Cine1 Studios files legal case against T-Series for financial discrepancy

As per Bar and Bench, Cine1’s counsel Sandeep Sethi told the court that Cine1 was not informed about the film’s earnings, its box office collection, or its music, satellite, or internet rights. The court has postponed the case till Thursday and has directed Sethi to bring his client (Cine1’s owner Murad Khetani) to the court in person on that day.

Cine1’s suit claimed that T-Series did not share with Cine1 the copies of the contracts it signed regarding the digital and satellite rights of the film with Netflix and Culver Max Entertainment (Sony Pictures) and also did not disclose any details about the work named Animal Park, a spin-off of the movie Animal.

The suit also alleged that T-Series violated the contract by not giving Cine1 equal space in credits, promos, publicity, and all advertising materials and that Cine1’s name was missing from the certificate issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

(Also read: EXCLUSIVE: Animal Box Office: Ranbir Kapoor Starrer Finishes 4th Highest Hindi Grosser Behind Jawan, Gadar 2 And Pathaan; Crosses 500 Cr Nett Hindi And 550 Cr Nett All Languages All India)

Cine1 also claimed that while T-Series agreed with Bhadrakali Pictures (Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s company), even that document was not shared with the plaintiff. “The Defendant No 1 (T-Series) is bent upon destroying the Plaintiff’s rights in the film and its derivatives in a brazen manner. The Plaintiff is seeking preservation of the accounts of the Defendant No 1 because the revenue generated from the film will be delivered only to the Defendant No 1. The Defendant No. 1 being a trustee of the profit share of the Plaintiff cannot be allowed to dissipate such receipts so as to defeat the Plaintiff’s rights on the profit share of the film,” the plea stated.

Cine1 Studios asks court to stop OTT release of Animal starring Ranbir Kapoor

Cine1 Studios, therefore, requested the court to halt the release of the movie on OTT platforms until T-Series fulfills the conditions of the contract with Cine1. This involves sharing profit, giving proper credits, a verified final cost of production of the film, box office earnings, contracts signed with Culver Max and Netflix as well as the contract with Vanga.

A source reveals that Cine1 Studios has also sued T Series for Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3 as a co-owner of the IP rights for the characters of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. The source says that Cine1 Studios has appealed to the court to prevent T Series from using any of the characters from Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3. The issue is still unresolved.

T-Series denies any wrong-doing, claims it followed industry practice

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday heard the arguments of both parties in the legal dispute between T-Series and Cine1 Studios over the OTT release of the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Animal. T-Series, on the other hand, has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that it has followed the terms of the agreement and the industry practice. Representing T-Series, Senior Counsel Mr Amit Sibal argued that the suit is premature as the 70-day period from the theatrical release on December 1, 2023, has not yet expired, and hence there is no obligation to share the revenue statements with Cine1 at this stage. He also contended that Cine1 has not made any efforts to seek information about the costs incurred by T-Series over the past four years, and has allowed the movie to release without any objection. He further stated that T-Series has always been transparent and willing to share the financial statements and third-party agreements with Cine1, and that Cine1 was aware that these costs are being incurred in the normal course of business.

The court has adjourned the matter till Thursday, January 18, when it will hear the final arguments and pass an order. Animal, directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, is a crime thriller that also stars Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol and Rashmika Mandanna. The movie has received mixed reviews from the critics but got a blockbuster response from the audience, and has collected over Rs 900 crore at global box office.

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