Hollywood Accounting II: Disney screws The Cheetah Girls author
Like the story about Warner Bros saying Harry Potter lost money for them, here’s another story of Hollywood Accounting at it’s finest.
Disney, if their battle to cut out the family owners of Winnie The Pooh is any evidence, has the reputation of putting the screws to anyone for the sake of a profit. Looks like they did the ol’ Hollywood Accounting one-two blow to the author of the books that spawned the popular (and apparently very lucrative) Cheetah Girls series, movies, DVDs and CDs.
In an interview with the LA TIMES in 2008, author Deborah Gregory claims to only have made any money on her licensing deal with the mouse in the form of payment for her name being on the films as ‘co-producer’ on the movies. She says that although she’s asked for them she’s never been given any form of accounting explaining why she’s not getting any more money.
Now one of the first things that pops out from this article is the phrase “Net Profit”. Yeah, that should be translated “Don’t ever expect a penny from us and be grateful we don’t charge you money to cover the cost of printing this contract you are about to sign.”
She states in the interview she lived in a “dump” as an example of her financial situation. I searched around but couldn’t find any quotes or stories following up on this so either she gave up trying to publicize it or someone came by with a check.
I have no doubt that Disney laughed all the way down the hall after she signed her “net” deal but for that matter any studio would have tried to get that same and it’s a shame she didn’t have better representation at the time but the question becomes: Why not cash in with the thing she still owns, the books?
From the article it seems she signed away the rights to television and film but she must still own the rights to the book series and why not start cranking them out and marketing the hell out of the book characters?
The next book should be about how the girls get screwed by some Hollywood studio and how they get cheated out of their hard work… and then take revenge. Here’s the one word that will sell a million books and make the cover unforgetable: Chainsaw. Oh yeah.