Holy Grail Producer Wins Spamalot Royalties in Dispute

The producer of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” won a lawsuit against six of the 1975 film’s stars over a profit-sharing agreement from the hit musical “Spamalot.”

Mark Forstater is entitled to a larger share of the royalties from the musical based on the film, Judge Alastair Norris ruled in London today.

“I have been waiting eight years for this,” Forstater said outside court today. “I have always been adamant I was correct. I have been proved right. Justice has prevailed.”

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

Paul Lambeth, a lawyer for Python (Monty) Pictures, said his clients were considering an appeal. The judge ruled that the company didn’t breach its contract with Forstater.

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 to let them pass.

Between 1975 and 2005, Forstater received one-seventh of half the merchandising and spinoff income from the Holy Grail, his lawyers said in court documents. Lawyers for the actors argued that he should get a smaller proportion at a hearing in November.

A hearing in October will determine damages, Forstater said today.

The case is: Mark Forstater & Anr v Python (Monty) Pictures Limited, case no. 11-1394, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.