Writer-Director Oren Peli Triumphant in Kill Fee Arbitration
Oren Peli, the creator of the original “Paranormal Activity” film, has been victorious in arbitration over a kill fee he claimed when he was fired as the Director of the film “Stonehearst Asylum,” starring Kate Beckinsale and Michael Cain. Peli successfully argued that his deal with the producers guaranteed him a $500,000 Kill Fee if he left the project within two years of signing on.
Peli claims that his involvement in the project, which production company Sobini had been trying to launch for a decade, attracted Millennium Films, who took an option on the film with the stipulation that Peli remain attached as director.
Peli insisted on hiring his own staff to run the production, stating that he disagreed with some of Millennium’s known business practices. Millennium balked at this stipulation, however. After several months the two sides appeared to have compromised, but Peli felt that new conditions inserted into the deal contract without notice effectively reversed their compromises, and he left the project. Peli also claims that Millennium continued to use his name to get distribution and financing deals despite his requests that they cease to do so. Millennium then claimed that he left the project after the two-year window in his contract, and refused to pay the Kill Fee.
In arbitration, however, Peli was successful in his breach of contract claim, and the arbitrators ordered Millennium to pay the fee. The film was eventually made and released, and did poorly.