I recently vacationed in beautiful Clearwater, Florida where I conducted three interviews that will appear in the not too distant future on XENU TV. While there, I stopped by the Clearwater Courthouse and dug up some more documents from the case involving the movie, The Profit.
There was a thick folder of material and I didn’t have long to sort through it. I grabbed the two transcripts of actual hearings which had been filed by the attorneys. These were dated back to the 2002 period. Apparently, the more recent attempts to lift the injunction have a different case number which I didn’t have time to research.
These documents, I hope, might fill in some gaps. I couldn’t afford to copy everything but I wanted to get the actual transcripts and the couple of filings which I found most interesting.
Professor Dave Touretzky has a nice site about the film which is slanted toward Peter and Patricia’s side of the fiasco which is fair because he is their friend. I am Bob Minton’s friend so it stands to reason that my sympathies lie with Bob. I have enormous respect for Dave. Less so for Peter and Patricia.
I’ve written about the movie before. Basically, Bob gave Peter and Patricia $2.5 million to make a movie about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, and gave them complete artistic control and no interference in the making of the film. They made a crappy film and threw away friendships in the process.
If they had simply made a crappy film, that would have been understandable. Many films with good intentions turn out crappy. But at the same time the film was being so hackily produced, Patricia was becoming a thorn in Bob’s side. So much so that by the time the film was being shown at Cannes, Bob refused to go along because, “Patricia had taken all the fun out of the movie.”
I was there as Bob was led to the brink of suicide by both Scientology and people such as Patricia who benefited from Bob’s generosity but added to his mounting pressure. Eventually, Bob had had enough and set out to settle with Scientology.
The film got caught in the middle. Not surprising, because by this time it was clear the film was a disaster and would not make back any of Bob’s money. In these documents, he is attempting to get an accounting of the the $2.5 million he spent on the project.
Profit Court Transcript 11/21/02
In this first transcript, Peter Alexander’s attorney, Luke Lirot, argues that turning over the film’s financial records to Bob will ruin his “trade secrets.”
Profit Court Transcript 11/21/02
In this next transcript, Judge Penick hears about the battle over the books. He has been dealing with all of us in other Scientology matters and is clearly fed up with it all. He orders the books be turned over.
Profit Books Filing – 12/17/02
After only a partial accounting of the books is offered, Bob’s attorney shares some interesting data from what few records they have had a chance to see. He points to $500,000 being given by the filmmaker’s to Peter and Patricia’s own company, The Totally Fun Company (TFC), as overhead. That is a full 1/5 of the movie’s budget, siphoned off the top — above their salaries as writer/director and producer.
The sad thing is, for $500,000 they could have hired a top script doctor to have rewritten the movie so it wouldn’t suck. At that time, you could have gotten Tarantino or William Goldman for that price. They could have gotten a lesser name for the script and hired a top-notch director, too. Hell, many great independent movies have been produced for less than that.
The next document came from earlier in 2002. This is when Peter and Patricia tried to sue me, Stacy and the guy at our ISP because Bob put up five short clips of the movie on the LMT website. Bob’s attorney discovered the Courage contract said one party couldn’t sue without the other’s permission so this suit against me was dropped.
At the time, Bob still had the LMT going as an active website. I didn’t think it was out of line for the film’s Executive Producer, full partner in the movie and the man who paid for the whole damn thing to put up a few brief clips showing the LMT members’ cameos but Peter and Patricia went ballistic.
I’ve always felt it was because it gave the world a chance to see just how horrible the movie was. It remains in limbo now. Bob gave up on it years ago. It’s unlikely to ever get an official re-release but I still think it should be seen. Just so it doesn’t build up a reputation as a “great movie” you are never allowed to see.