William Friedkin, last seen in these parts trying to get the NC-17 rating attached to his forthcoming Killer Joe overturned, is suing Paramount and Universal over the domestic rights to his 1977 film Sorcerer, as well as a share of the profits that no one has ever previously accused the movie of having earned. Sorcerer, a remake of the French classic The Wages Of Fear, was a labor of love for Friedkin that he made when he was riding high after the back-to-back blockbuster successes of The French Connection and The Exorcist.
The movie earned mostly middling reviews and suffered the same box-office fate as just about every other big movie released during the summer of 1977 that wasn't Star Wars, but some people think it's an underrated classic deserving of re-evaluation, especially if "some people" is understood to mean "William Friedkin." Friedkin wants the courts to affirm his right to show the movie, in light of what his lawyers describe as the studios having "recently disclaimed rights to exploit the Picture in the United States, and admitting ignorance as to who, if anyone, currently has such rights," even as they "bafflingly… persist in denying that Friedkin has any rights to exploit the Picture." Friedkin, who owns points in the movie, would also like to know just how much money he's been screwed out of over the course of the past 35 years. As Deadline reports, he "says that he has not received a participation statement in 'over 20 years'—which makes one think Friedkin should secure some new accountants while he's at it."