TMNT Movie Lawsuit Heats Up
A few months ago, we reported the unfortunate news that some of the filmmakers behind the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies had decided to sue the rights holders for earnings they had not been paid. Under their contract, they were supposed to receive a percentage of the profits that the films had earned, but the studios and the rights holders had neglected to pay up. Their claim was legitimate, and at the time we were very hopeful that they would get the money that they were owed. As of today, it looks like that might actually happen.
Earlier this week, they won their case against rights holder Fortune Star. The company has been ordered to pay over $400,000 to TMNT movie producers Gary Propper and Kim Dawson, director Steve Barron, writers Todd Langen and Bobby Herbeck, and an heir to producer Graham Cottle. Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the fight for the filmmakers, as the complicated nature of copyright will be pitting them against one of the biggest film studios in the world – Warner Bros. Their lawsuit against the storied company states the following:
“Defendant Warner Bros. possesses certain rights and obligations to domestic distribution of the Pictures. Those obligations include the responsibility to account to and pay Fortune Star monies resulting from rights it acquired to the domestic exploitation of the Pictures.”
In other words, it would appear that a stipulation of the case they won requires Fortune Star to acquire the money they owe to the filmmakers from Warner Bros. These earnings should have come from WB the whole time, but for whatever reason the TMNT filmmakers were either forgotten or neglected. These types of issues happen from time to time, so it’s not as if we can just vilify one company or another; for all we know, this whole situation could have been a huge, unintentional mistake.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: these filmmakers definitely deserve to get the money they are owed. Here’s hoping that Warner Bros. does the right thing and makes this whole process as painless as possible.