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Grail Producer Seeks 7th Python Status on ‘Spamalot’ Cash

Photographer: Mary Evans/Python Pictures/Everett Collection

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Close

Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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Photographer: Mary Evans/Python Pictures/Everett Collection

Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The producer of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” is looking for more than a shrubbery from the 1975 film’s six stars in a London lawsuit over a profit-sharing agreement tied to the hit musical “Spamalot.”

Mark Forstater is entitled to a larger share of the royalties from the musical based on the film, which has been “a huge international commercial success,” with runs on Broadway and in London’s West End, his lawyers said at a London hearing.

Forstater, who was declared bankrupt in June, should be treated as the “seventh Python” for financial purposes, Tom Weisselberg, his attorney said in court today. Three of the founders of the comedy troupe, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, are scheduled to testify at the trial, which is expected to last five days.

Spamalot grossed $168 million before it closed at New York’s Shubert Theater in January 2009, according to the Broadway League, a trade association of landlords and producers. The six Pythons each earn between $500,000 and $800,000 in royalties per year, according to a 2009 interview with Roger Saunders, the London manager of Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd.

Saunders couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

In the film, King Arthur gathers his knights for a quest to find the Holy Grail. Along the way, they encounter blood-thirsty villagers looking for witches to burn, French soldiers who toss cows and insults at them over battlements, and a huge knight who demands a shrubbery in order to let them pass.

Between 1975 and 2005 Forstater received one-seventh of half the merchandising and spinoff income from Grail, his lawyers said in documents filed at the U.K. court. Lawyers for the Pythons argued he should get a smaller proportion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Scinta at cscinta@bloomberg.net

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