Disney Ordered to Pay $270 Million over Contract Dispute

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” The management of British production company Celador, that is. A California court has found the Walt Disney Company guilty of breach of contract and ordered the Hollywood outfit to pay “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” creator Celador $270 million in compensation.

The case stemmed from Celador’s allegations that Disney colluded with subsidiaries ABC and Buena Vista to shut out the British outfit from revenue generated by “Millionaire,” which was a huge US hit in the late 1990s.

Disney had denied any wrongdoings in the allocation of revenue from “Millionaire,” saying that the flaw was in the original contract that Celador signed. Disney said agents at William Morris who negotiated the contract in behalf of Celador should be blamed for the British company’s disadvantageous position.

Disney said it would appeal the verdict, which it described as “fundamentally wrong.” If upheld, the verdict could have a wide-ranging effect on the industry and point the spotlight on the so-called Hollywood accounting, or the sharing of expenses and revenue between companies.