UPDATE, 5:52 PM: The other player in the battle over who owns the movie rights to Dungeons & Dragons has just made their latest move. Regardless of the copyright and trademark infringement complaint filed today by Hasbro, Sweetpea Entertainment say they intend to move ahead with their D&D film at Warner Bros. “This is nothing but shameless opportunism on the part of Hasbro, an effort to use the Court and the legal process in an attempt to delay the project,” said Sweetpea’s Courtney Solomon in a statement late Tuesday. Having retained powerhouse entertainment lawyer Patricia Glazer of Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro, the producer says Sweetpea hopes to deal with the legal matter “quickly and firmly and we are confident we will prevail.” Glazer calls Hasbro’s suit “classic Hollywood shenanigans.” Read the full statement from Sweetpea below:
Sweetpea Entertainment has had Dungeons & Dragons motion picture rights since the 1990’s including sequel, prequel and remake rights” said Sweetpea principal Courtney Solomon. “We have made three pictures so far, and we’re going to make more –including the tentpole project that is currently in advanced stages of development with Warner Bros.”
Last week, trades had reported that Warner Bros. was proceeding with the development of the project, working with a script by David Leslie Johnson, to be produced by Roy Lee, Courtney Solomon and Allan Zeman.
“This is nothing but shameless opportunism on the part of Hasbro, an effort to use the Court and the legal process in an attempt to delay the project,” continued Solomon. “We intend to deal with them quickly and firmly and we are confident we will prevail – just as we did in the 1990’s, when the last legal challenge ended with a confirmation of Sweepea’s rights.
Sweetpea has retained Patricia Glaser of Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP as litigation counsel. “Another suit filed to try to put the freeze on a project,” said Glaser. “Classic Hollywood shenanigans.”
PREVIOUSLY, 1:06 PM: Hasbro says it owns the rights to any Dungeons & Dragons movie now and it’s going to federal court to prove it. As Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr first reported last week, the toy company wasn’t pleased at all with the D+D project called Chainmail that producer Courtney Solomon had set up at Warner Bros because Hasbro had its own film in the works over at Universal. Monday the toy company had its lawyers filed a copyright and trademark infringement complaint against Solomon’s Sweetpea Entertainment to put the brakes on any movie it might try to make. The complaint alleges that Solomon “falsely represented” D+D rights it has. Warner Bros is not named as a defendant in the complaint. However discussions in late 2012 between the toy company and the studio about making a D+D movie are mentioned as is the statement that “Hasbro passed on the script”. The toy company says it did grant Sweetpea the rights back in the 1990s to make one D+D movie. However, with that film coming out in 2000, the feature rights went right back to the toy company after Sweetpea “failed to exercise its Sequel Rights within five years of the U.S. release of the Picture or the First TV movie.” The company claims in its complaint that second TV movies that Sweetpea produced that played on Syfy in 2012 were not a sequel but a stand-alone and therefore not an exercise of rights by Solomon’s company. “Sweetpea’s claims of ownership of the theatrical motion picture rights in the Property is baseless because the Sequel Rights have reverted to Hasbro,” says the 17-page complaint seeking injunctive relief. Hasbro is also seeking unspecified damages as well as legal fees from Sweetpea. The toy company is represented by Michael Weinstein and Daniel Gutenplan of LA firm Lavely & Singer and Maura Wogan and Jeremy Goldman of NY firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.
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