Lawsuit Blames Netanyahu Corruption Probe for Dud Milchan Film

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Arnon Milchan, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, as they arrive for the premiere of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in Los Angeles on June 7, 2005.
Arnon Milchan, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, as they arrive for the premiere of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in Los Angeles on June 7, 2005.Credit: CHRIS PIZZELLO

Arnon Milchan is facing a $50 million lawsuit in connection with the movie “Rules Don’t Apply,” which the plaintiffs assert was a flop in part because the Israeli-American Hollywood producer was too preoccupied by his role in the Netanyahu bribery affair.

In a suit filed in California Superior Court and reported on the Hollywood trade publication Variety over the weekend, investors Ron Burkle, Steve Bing and Brett Ratner accuse Milchan of fraud because he failed to market the movie as promised.

The suit alleges that the financier turned the job of distributing the film over to his son, Yariv, who was not competent to handle it.

'Rules Don't Apply' trailer.

“The film was generally well reviewed and should have been at least a moderate success at the box office and possibly a big hit. Instead ... the film became a box office failure in the United States and was given virtually no release overseas,” the suit asserts.

“The evidence shows that this unexpected and unnecessary disaster was the result of an extraordinary breach of contract and fraud by Milchan and his controlled companies,” it said.

Starring Warren Beatty in his first on-screen performance in a long time, “Rules Don’t Apply” grossed $3.9 million when it was released in 2016. The romantic comedy cost $31.1 million to produce and an additional $23.2 million to distribute.

Milchan is at the center of an Israeli police investigation, popularly known as Case 1000, that alleges he provided Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with cigars, champagne and other goods in exchange for favors. Milchan has asserted they were gifts and that he didn’t get anything back in return.

The suit alleges that Milchan was absent during the film’s production and slept through the only screening he attended before its completion.

Milchan contends that the film had been a flop with test audiences, but that Beatty and the other investors insisted on expanding its release. Milchan says he consented to wider distribution so long as the other investors guaranteed that they would cover his losses. In a suit filed in December, Milchan claims he is owed $19 million.

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