The only real surprise here is what took the studio so long. Warner Bros on Wednesday formally swung back at the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve. To continue the ballgame lingo, the studio doesn’t think the court should even step up to the plate to claims by Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions, first filed October 1, that the idea for the Randy Brown-written film was stolen — WB wants the case thrown out. “The Warner Defendants’ motion for summary judgment should be granted and this case should be brought to a halt before defendants have to incur any further costs in defending it,” says the motion (read it here) filed Wednesday in federal court. “The Warner Defendants appreciate that early summary judgment motions are not the norm, but this case calls out for it, especially given the salaciousness of the complaint and Plaintiffs’ abject refusal to face the reality — attested to by various third-party witnesses — that Mr. Brown wrote TWTC in the 1990s.” Brooks is seeking tens of millions in his case as well as all the profits for the film. Curve came out in September 2012 and was a middling success with $35.8 million grossed domestically and about $50 million worldwide.
Related: Warner Bros Fires Back In ‘Trouble With The Curve’ Case
Even if Curve had been a bigger hit and there was more dough to go around, WB doesn’t seem to be in the settlement mood to make these allegations just go away. The studio claims that it has “extensive, indisputable evidence” that Brown completed a number of drafts of what became the film. In his suit, Brooks claims Curve actually came from three copyrighted scripts called Omaha about college baseball written by actor Don Handfield and a reel from his production company based on the plaintiff’s knowledge of that world. He also alleges an elaborate sleight of hand that resulted in Brown getting credit for a story about that world that Brooks says he could not have truly known about. Brooks and his lawyer Gerald Fox say they have a number of experts to confirm their version of events.
Forget about it, says WB.
“Mr. Brown created TWTC years before Omaha; he did not copy it. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment should be granted, and this wasteful and misguided case should be brought to a decisive end,” Warner Bros asserts in the motion filed this week. “None of the personal insults or twisted conspiracy theories that Plaintiffs assert can overcome this lynchpin fact. Nor can their claims that the Warner Defendants “manufactured” the mass of evidence that disproves Plaintiffs’ claims. This is a simple case. This summary judgment motion should be granted,” the filing adds. To that end, WB has brought on board the O’Melveny & Myers team of Daniel Petrocelli and Matt Kline, as well as Ashley Pearson, that has won the studio the Superman heirs copyright case and others. The original multi-million dollar 12-claim complaint names WB, UTA, Gersh, director Robert Lorenz, screenwriter Randy Brown and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions among others. Eastwood himself is not named, but if this does go to trial, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the witness list — if it goes to trial.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.