The creators of the 1984 comedy film “This Is Spinal Tap” earned a major victory in a California court on Tuesday, after a federal judge allowed Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest to pursue a fraud claim against media conglomerate Vivendi.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said StudioCanal, which is owned by Vivendi, broke its agreement with the plantiffs by not providing required accounting statements, in addition to “separate nefarious accounting practices to conceal and underreport" profits, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which cited details from the ruling.
The plantiffs, who claimed Vivendi’s actions were intentional, are seeking $400 million in damages and ancillary merchandising and music, the outlet reported.
According to Deadline.com, the plaintiffs claimed in their original lawsuit that Vivendi pegged the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income over 22 years at $81, and their share of total music sales income over 17 years at $98.
The co-creators also tried unsuccessfully to sue Universal Music Group – another subsidiary of Vivendi. However, the judge granted the plantiffs permission to submit an amended complaint, the outlet reported.
Another claim against UMG related to music rights is still active.
"Spinal Tap" was a "mockumentary" that followed the fictional British band as it embarked on a world tour that went awry.