Date: 11th June 2004

Gibson sues over takings

Mel Gibson's film distribution company is suing a US cinema chain for more than 21m in a dispute over revenues for The Passion of the Christ.

According to BBC online Gibson's Icon Distribution says Regal Entertainment Group - the country's biggest cinema chain - owes it the amount in unpaid box office receipts.

Icon lawyer George Hedges said Regal had agreed to pay 55% of receipts, but later reneged and offered 34%.

A spokesman for Regal Entertainment declined to discuss the legal action.

Icon filed the case on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, saying Regal owed the company "in excess" of $40m.

Regal Entertainment was formed in 2001 by Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz from three debt-laden cinema chains.

Regal spokesman Dick Westerling said: "We do not comment on our business practices with the studios."

The Passion of the Christ is at number seven on the all-time US box office charts after taking $370m (200m).

Source: Press Release