The Seth Rogen animated comedy “Sausage Party” hit theatres over the weekend and was the brightest spot for Sony this summer, as the movie took in $34.2 million domestically, higher than projections for the raunchy R-rated tale about food rebelling against humans.
Throughout press for the movie, Rogen and the film’s directors, Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, boasted about how they made the movie for much cheaper than the usual animated movie. Sony has said the budget of the film was less than $20 million.
But now word is coming out that the animators behind the movie were allegedly not paid properly for the work they put in.
In an interview with Cartoon Brew, Tiernan boasted that “we knew damn well that we could deliver a movie that looks like a $150 million movie for a fraction of the cost.”
“After working in the L.A. industry for many years, I could see so much money just needlessly thrown down the toilet in making a lot of these movies,” he went on to say. “It doesn’t have to cost that much money when you’re well-organised, and you have your mind set on the goal of what you want to do, and you get the job done with a small, determined crew.”
However, since that interview went live, the site’s comment section has been flooded with anonymous commenters stating that that was not the case.
Allegations have surfaced that animators on the movie feuded with the Canadian animation company Nitrogen Studios during production over being pressured to work overtime for free.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained the final draft of a letter on Monday that was supposedly signed by an estimated 30 animators on the film and sent in December to Nitrogen management, which alleges “unfair pressure tactics” were “used against the team: intimidating staff into working past official studio hours, disciplinary measures utilising fear tactics that demotivate and cause distress (such as threatening to terminate employment), implying that other departments are working overtime ‘voluntarily’ as a reason to deny compensation.”
Nitrogen Studios chief executive Nicole Stinn responded to the dispute with the following statement to the Los Angeles Times:
“These claims are without merit. Our production adhered to all overtime laws and regulations, as well as our contractual obligations with our artists.”
According to the THR story, after the letter was sent, “Sausage Party” production company Annapurna Pictures stepped in to ensure that overtime rates were paid and that meals were provided for people who stayed late to work on the film. However, sources say back pay has never been paid for the overtime worked prior to the letter being sent.
Business Insider contacted Annapurna for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
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