- Court of Appeal takes commercial and non-literal approach to clause construction in film option agreement (RPC v Alfama Films)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
TMT analysis: The appeal concerned the proper construction of a deed of agreement between the appellant, Recorded Picture Company Limited, and the respondents, Alfama Films Production and Mr Branco. Alfama and Mr Branco were to be the producers of the film. By the deed, Alfama and Mr Branco were granted an option to obtain a licence to develop, produce and exploit a film provisionally entitled ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’. RPC’s case was that the option had expired by effluxion of time. The producers’ case was that the option term of six months was extended and continued in force. RPC's High Court claim, in which it sought a declaration that the option term had expired, was dismissed. The High Court decided that the option term had been extended by reason of a dispute between Alfama and the proposed director of the film, Mr Terry Gilliam which led to litigation in France and which had the result of triggering the provisions of the Force Majeure of the deed. The Court of Appeal agreed and the appeal was dismissed.
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