Spinal Tap Creators Hope Lawsuit 'Goes to 11'

3 other creators of mockumentary join in lawsuit
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2017 2:40 PM CST

Spinal Tap is getting back together ... over a lawsuit. Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Rob Reiner have joined Harry Shearer in his lawsuit against entertainment group Vivendi, which acquired the rights to This Is Spinal Tap in 1989, the Guardian reports. The four men created the rock mockumentary together; Reiner directed and narrated it while the other three played the members of the titular band. Shearer sued Vivendi last year, alleging that the firm—Universal Music's parent company—has been hiding profits from the film in order to avoid giving the film's creators what they're due. Between 1989 and 2006, music and merchandise related to the film has raked up "tens of millions of dollars" in revenue, per the suit, but Vivendi only reported total income of $98 from soundtrack sales and $81 from merch sales.

Shearer was originally suing for $125 million; with the three others joining him, it's now a $400 million lawsuit. Their attorney tells the Hollywood Reporter the others didn't learn they were being "defrauded" until Shearer filed his suit. "What makes this case so egregious is the prolonged and deliberate concealment of profit and the purposeful manipulation of revenue allocation between various Vivendi subsidiaries—to the detriment of the creative talent behind the band and film," Reiner says in a statement. "Such anti-competitive practices need to be exposed. I am hoping this lawsuit goes to 11." That, of course, refers to the "These go to 11" scene in the film. Adds McKean, "This is Spinal Tap was the result of four very stubborn guys working very hard to create something new under the sun. The movie’s influence on the last three decades of film comedy is something we are very proud of. But the buck always stopped somewhere short of Rob, Harry, Chris, and myself." (More This Is Spinal Tap stories.)

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