Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"Olivia Newton-John Greased Up?"

from - by josh grossberg

Money is the word for Olivia Newton-John.

The Aussie-based entertainer has reached a tentative settlement with Universal Music International in her lawsuit alleging she was screwed out of $1 million in royalties from the hugely popular Grease soundtrack.

According to court documents filed Nov. 20 in Los Angeles Superior Court, the two sides have brokered a deal contingent upon "the satisfactory completion of specified terms."

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but lawyers for both sides plan to ask Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis to dismiss the case at a Jan. 15 hearing, which would scuttle a trial scheduled to begin Mar. 3.

Newton-John, 59, filed suit against UMI, the foreign division of record giant Universal Music Group, in December 2006. She claimed the company failed to adequately compensate for the enduring sales of the hit soundtrack.

UMI, which is based in the Netherlands, filed a motion last June seeking to have the case tossed because the company was not properly notified of the lawsuit and has no business dealings in California.

Duffy-Lewis denied the request, noting that Universal was within the jurisdiction because it sends royalty statements to Newton-John's company, ON-J Productions, in California. In a four-page opinion, the judge also added that Newton-John properly informed the conglomerate about the legal action.

Grease gave Newton-John her breakout role. She played Sandy, the Goody Two-shoes who becomes hopelessly devoted to John Travolta's Danny Zucko, the bad-boy leader of Rydell High's T-Bird gang.

The flick about 1950s-era summer lovin' was adapted from the stage musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey and became a monster hit , grossing $394 million worldwide. It's also been reissued several times, most notably in 1998 to mark its 20th anniversary.

Grease even spawned an American Idol-style reality contest earlier this year. NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want! included Newton-John as a guest judge in the search for a Sandy and Danny for the Broadway revival that opened last summer.

The Grease soundtrack, containing the hit tracks "Grease," "You're the One That I Want," "Sandy," "Beauty School Dropout," "Greased Lightnin'," "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" and "We Go Together," has since become the fifth-biggest selling of all time. Billboard reports the album has topped 13 million in sales.

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