Spike Lee Nets Almost $1.5 Million in Film Fracas

Wins suit against French TV station that reneged on deal to distribute Lee's war flick Miracle at St. Anna.

Posted:
 
spikeleemiracle
Spike Lee has won a court battle over his war flick. (Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

A "Miracle" has netted Spike Lee a windfall.

A Paris court has ordered a French TV station to pay Spike Lee 1 million euros (about $1.4 million) for failing to distribute his World War II-era film, Miracle at St. Anna. The award was part of a total judgment of more than 30 million euros against TV station TF1.

The court said TF1 Droits Audiovisuels, a subsidiary of the broadcaster, failed to honor its agreement to distribute "Miracle at St. Anna" in markets across the world, excluding the United States, Canada and Italy.

The company signed an agreement in 2007 with On My Own production company to bring the film, about the overlooked contribution of African-American soldiers in World War II, to global markets.

The film hit U.S. cinema screens in the United States in 2008 but it was never released internationally because TF1 said the version of the film it received did not conform to what it had been promised.

TF1 refused to give On My Own the 11-million-euro advance it had agreed to pay, prompting Spike Lee and the production company to take the French firm to court.

In a judgment delivered June 21, the court agreed with them that TF1 was at fault and that its failure to honor its contract had proved "disastrous" for the film.

While AFP's headline and lead paragraph indicated the full award was 32 million euros, the figures in the story appeared to total 35.2 million. The Root contacted AFP, but the discrepancy could not be explained as of press time.