Published On: Sun, Apr 12th, 2015

Richard Dreyfuss Suing Disney for ‘What About Bob’ Cut

There is constantly more money in profits to be collected as old movies garner fees from showings on Netflix and cable channels.


Richard Dreyfuss is suing Disney over profits which the actor feels that he is owed from the movie “What About Bob.”

The Oscar winning actor is angry that Disney will not allow his chosen auditing firm, Robinson and Co., access to the books from that movie. Disney, in turn, says that it has the right to reject such access to a firm if it deems said firm not to be a “national firm of reputable CPAs, the selection of which is subject to [Disney’s] approval not to be unreasonably withheld.”

But Dreyfuss, together with other plaintiffs in the suit, has charged that, “Disney has not stated any basis for its conclusion that Robinson Inc. is not a nationally recognized firm. Apparently no one can leave a ‘nationally recognized firm without running afoul of Disney’s policy regarding the same.”

How does a 25 year old light comedy which co-starred Bill Murray fit in to unraveling the murky world of Hollywood studio accounting practices? If Richard Dreyfuss’ case moves forward it could lead to more transparency in the way studios divide the profits from films.

Since so many movies, at least on paper, claim to have had no net profit no matter how many hundreds of millions they may earn at the box office, actors and directors make sure to get a percentage of the gross receipts of a picture and not the net. But even then some studios have been charged with finding ways to hide money.

There is constantly more money in profits to be collected as old movies garner fees from showings on Netflix and cable channels.

As the suit itself states, “Motion picture and television companies detest having to pay net and gross profit participants and have consistently and historically withheld significant amounts of profits from participants. This is why profit participation auditors in the motion picture and television industries exist; these auditors oftentimes find monies due to profit participants.”

Released in 1991, “What About Bob” tells the story of a neurotic man (Murray) who follows his psychiatrist (Dreyfuss) when the latter goes away with his family on vacation.

Hilarity ensued in this comedy directed by Frank Oz which also starred Julie Hagerty.

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