Is Sacha Baron Cohen Funny? What’s So Funny? Courts Weigh In
My posts are usually about business and legal developments in the entertainment industry, especially disputes regarding profit participations. But in this post, I focus on two recent cases which pose questions not often asked in litigation. Namely, who, and what, is funny? In 2018, an elaborately disguised Sacha Baron Cohen, pretending to be an Israeli […]
Latest “Matrix”: Can Warner Bros. Self-Deal, “Break Windows,” and Muzzle a Lawsuit?
Village Roadshow is a co-financier of Warner Bros.’ iconic Matrix franchise. Just before Christmas 2021, Warner released the latest iteration, The Matrix Resurrections, in theaters and on HBO Max, the studio’s streaming service, on the same day. The result: an apparent boost for HBO Max, but the weakest theatrical performance of all the Matrix films. […]
The End of Upside? Disney, Black Widow and the Attack on Scarlett Johansson
When I post about revenue disputes, it’s usually about legal decisions, valuations and the like. But this post is about strategies outside of the courtroom; in particular, Disney’s personal attack on Scarlett Johansson in response to her Black Widow lawsuit. The deal that Scarlett Johansson made as star of Black Widow was that she would […]
Takeaways from “The Future Of Upside” Panel
On May 13, I moderated a Zoom panel entitled Film And TV Profit Participations: The Future Of Upside For Streaming Entertainment. The full conversation is viewable here. We covered a lot of ground in one hour. In this post, I summarize my main takeaways from the program as a whole. But first, the “cast of […]
Isn’t Netflix like Watching TV? Not in the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” Litigation
Before streaming, before Blu-rays, before DVDs, TV shows were exhibited on . . . television. Back then, mostly, via broadcast, satellite, and premium and basic cable. So, Suppose Suppose a TV series was produced in 1993. And, in the studio agreement for the series, suppose there was no specific distribution fee for streaming. (Back then, […]
“Red October” and the Two Mrs. Clancys: Who Owns Jack Ryan?
Starting with espionage thriller The Hunt for Red October, Jack Ryan, the fictional CIA analyst turned Everyman Hero, has appeared in 21 novels, five feature films, numerous videogames, and even an episodic series – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, now on Amazon Prime. Actors who have portrayed Jack Ryan include Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, […]
Could UBS Have Stopped a “Con” on Investors in a Bull Durham Musical?
Have you ever heard a film producer or financier say, “I have access to half the financing”? It’s often followed by, “If you have the other half, we can do this.” I’ve heard this, many times. Words like these can be the start of a successful deal, or of a scheme to defraud. Take the […]
16 Reasons Why? Producer Dana Brunetti Hits Detachment by Discovery from “Manhunt” Series
Film and TV projects start in various ways. Sometimes a producer will formally option a writer’s idea or work. But the process of working through a wide range of possible outcomes, as option agreements typically do, can exact a lot of brain damage – and cost – on a project that may never get to […]
“Bones” Decision: Fox Hit With $128M Penalty; How Much Did the Studio Wrongly Hide from Profit Participants?
The hit TV series Bones (the “Series”), featuring a crime-solving, forensic anthropologist, ran from 2005 through 2017, a total of twelve seasons. It starred Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz and was produced by Barry Josephson based on books by Kathy Reichs (collectively, the “Creatives”). At 246 episodes, Bones is one of the longest running one-hour […]
The Walking Dead: Should AMC pay less than $2M Per Episode, or more than $20M?
Writer/director Frank Darabont is the creator of mega series The Walking Dead (the “Series”); talent agency Creative Artists is the Series’ packager; and AMC Studio is the producer and distributor of the Series, and licenses it for broadcast to the AMC Network . Plaintiffs Darabont and CAA, who share in the profits of AMC Studio, claim […]