Thursday, June 20, 2024

Box Office Bomb: Music Bio Film “Spinning Gold” Had a Shorter Life than Its Subject, Record Label Chief Neil Bogart


Last week, “Spinning Gold” — about the short, hot career of record label exec Neil Bogart — played in 775 theaters.

This week, it’s down to fewer than a dozen from what I can tell.

The story of Casablanca Records, how it came and went, should have been a doozy. But it didn’t get very good reviews. And the minute it arrived, a lot of people complained about it.

The Village People were made they weren’t included, and claimed the producers — Bogart’s adult sons — could clear their music because he had no money.

That was theme. When the movie was being made in Montreal back in 2019, it ran into pay problems. The local talent union issued a “Do Not Work” order until the company came up with $600,000 in back pay. (They did.)

Not only that: Alex Habrich, CEO of Montreal-based SolidXperience Group, filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit in 2020 against director Timothy Scott Bogart (the eldest son of the late Neil Bogart), alleging contractual fraud. A jury trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

None of this is a surprise. Neil Bogart, who died at 39 from cancer in 1982, had a roller coaster run during his short career. He had massive hits with KISS, The Village People, Donna Summer, Parliament, and so on. But Bogart, however, couldn’t keep control of the artists after he broke them. He also cashed in too early to stay alive. When the company was hot, Bogart sold a piece of it to Polygram, which forced him out.

Now the movie is who knows where. The distributor, Variance Films, has never reported box office numbers, but we all know they were very low. Despite Broadway’s Jeremy Jordan playing Bogart, and a bunch of contemporary music stars playing Bogart’s acts, there was probably no money to promote “Spinning Gold” beyond a few days.

Maybe we’ll see it on a streamer or HBO, where it can catch on. But for now “Spinning Gold” has spun out.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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