Troubled Waters: ‘The Crow’ Lawsuit, ‘Dark Tower’ Safe – For Now

In what could easily be a record breaking news day, we’ve got a few news briefs that we’re gonna jam into this one piece.

Dark Tower is staying at Universal. At least for now, writes THR. The massive Universal-Imagine-NBC adaptation of Stephen King’s mystical Western opus hit snags last week with some reports claiming that project was in turnaround. The project did hit budgetary snags and the fall start date was shelved. But Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman have regrouped to try to bring the budget down. Insiders say the end result is that Goldsman is now rewriting the script to reflect a lower price point. No start date has been given although it will certainly not be the fall. What that does to the involvement of Javier Bardem, who was attached to star in the first movie and the first TV arc, is unclear. Dark Tower is to be a film trilogy with a TV component in between the movies. Howard has committed to direct the movie and the first episode of the show, with Goldsman writing all three movies.

In other troublesome news, Relativity is just getting warmed up to battle the Weinstein Company over the rights to The Crow reboot to be directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and star Bradley Cooper. Variety reports that Relativity has accused the Weinstein Co. of intentionally masking its financial problems in order to induce Relativity to finance the TWC tuner Nine. Relativity made the claim in a response filed Thursday in to the lawsuit TWC filed against Relativity over rights to remake of The Crow.

Plenty more on this inside.
Relativity’s response, which seeks more than $20 million, stems from TWC’s injunction filed last month in which the company sought to halt Relativity from selling distribution rights to anyone but TWC.

But Relativity has its own grievances – claiming that TWC’s “mishandling” of the co-financed B.O. disappointment “Nine” two years ago is reason enough to shop “The Crow” elsewhere.

In the filing, Relativity claims “TWC’s unilateral, ill-founded decision regarding the film’s release directly resulted in the movie ‘Nine’ being a commercial disaster. Based on the information available to it, Relativity does not believe that TWC has the ability to meet ($70 million in P&A) obligations … and Relativity is under no obligation to allow TWC to ruin let another movie.”

TWC attorney Bert Fields called Relativity’s response “complete hogwash.”

If Mr. Kavanaugh had a claim on ‘Nine,’ he would have raised it at the time of ‘Nine,’” Fields told Variety. “If Mr. Kavanaugh hasn’t been living in a tree, he knows that the Weinsteins have completely restructured their company and have all the money they need and will get even more from ‘The King’s Speech … this is a thin excuse for violating his contract and repudiating ‘The Crow.’

Relativity’s response also includes a motion to move the dispute over “The Crow” into arbitration, not litigation as Fields has requested through the injunction. Relativity cites a clause in their March 2009 agreement that calls for any disputes to be settled through “confidential arbitration proceedings.”

Law firms Weiss & Hunt, LLP and K&L Gates, LLP filed the response for Relativity, which include claims of breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, repudiation, and unfair business practices.