Is it telling that this press release for a new D&D
movie quotes Hasbro's legal counsel? Or that the cost to prosecute this case is probably larger than the original D&D film's budget?
"In 1994, Courtney Solomon's Sweetpea optioned D&D from a Hasbro subsidiary for a mere $15,000 and eventually produced a film released in 2000 that was both a commercial and critical flop. The deal between Sweetpea and Hasbro — actually an amendment to the contract to resolve prior litigation — gave Sweetpea sequel rights so long as it produced one in a timely fashion. And so, two more D&D films came out. The first, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God,
premiered on the SyFy Channel in 2005 and the second, Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness,
aired on the SyFy Channel in 2012.
"After Universal beat Warner Bros. to a deal with Hasbro for a new film, Warners began investigating the possibility of getting rights through Sweetpea. Hasbro contended that Sweetpea's rights had reverted, and that its films didn't constitute proper sequels. The issue was brought to trial last September in a proxy war of sorts between two big studios. Warners invested $5 million acquiring Sweetpea rights and covering legal costs.
In October, the parties delivered post-trial arguments in October. Since then, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee has held back on issuing a ruling. Instead, she has urged the two sides to settle.
"On Monday, after months of negotiation, the parties were finally able to reveal had come to an undisclosed arrangement to end the lawsuit, but one that will give Warner Bros. confidence in moving forward with its film. It's unclear whether Universal has signed off on this deal.
"Maura Wogan and Jeremy Goldman of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz acted as lead counsel for Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, and issued a statement: "This settlement accomplished our overarching goal of unifying all Dungeons & Dragons
rights under Hasbro's control,'" [they said hopefully]
"'paving the way to make a blockbuster film. It's a great outcome for those involved — especially Dungeons & Dragons
fans who will now get to see D&D on the big screen.
"Patty Glaser and Jill Basinger of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro acted as lead counsel for Sweetpea. As part of the agreement, Sweetpea's Solomon and Allan Zeman are also attached as producers of the new film." (Hollywood Reporter):http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/dungeons-dragons-legal-settlement-paves-812674