Trial Begins Over Hendrix Film

Opening arguments were heard in a suit filed by the Jimi Hendrix estate against a film producer that claims he blocked a distribution deal with Sony Music Entertainment for a concert film. 

The suit seeks $5 million and recission of a distribution agreement. The estate alleges producer Gerald Goldstein demanded a huge theatrical release for a Hendrix concert film and a $20 million budget for prints and advertising from Sony Music Entertainment, which offered a $2 million advance. Hendrix estate attorney Edwin McPherson said Goldstein’s demands upon Sony were unrealistic for the concert film. Footage for the film reportedly comes from 1969 concerts at Royal Albert Hall in London and elsewhere in Europe.

McPherson, in opening arguments, said the unreleased film “is not ‘Michael Jackson’ [“This Is It”] and it’s not ‘Titanic,’ according to Law360. “If it were, there would have been more than one offer in the last 40 years to distribute it.” Goldstein accused the Hendrix estate of being more interested in music and merchandise sales rather than making a film worthy of wide release. “They pulled the rug out from under Mr. Goldstein and destroyed his ability to present his vision of what he thought the film would be like,” Goldstein attorney Brent Blakely said.

He further accused the heirs of trying to force a rushed deal with Sony that would make the film unprofitable and put it on just a half-dozen screens.

The dispute stems from a joint venture formed in 2010 between Experience Hendrix LLC and Goldstein to finish and distribute a concert film culled from the Royal Albert shows. The estate reportedly preferred a “platform” limited release of the film and claims Goldberg wanted nothing less than a massive nationwide release. The estate filed suit May 2011, saying it would never have invested in the project if it had known Goldstein’s intentions. The estate wants out of the agreement with Goldstein to jointly produce and share profits from the film and recovery of its investment.