ABC and ABC Family discovered today that they must face the courts over whether they stole the idea for a 2011 Christmas movie from two veteran producers. A LA Superior Court judge today rejected an effort by the two companies and other defendants to legally eviscerate the complaint Beth Grossbard and Barri Rosenblum filed in January claiming their I Hate Christmas idea was lifted for the ABC Family movie 12 Dates Of Christmas. Judge Ruth Ann Kwan ruled against most of the demurrer (read it here) the defense introduced in late February. Kwan ordered that the claims of breach of confidence and accounting could stand from the initial complaint, but she did instruct Grossbard and Rosenblum’s lawyers to amend their breach of contract suit in regard to the claim of constructive trust. Once that is done, the process of discovery will begin in the case — which means it is still a ways off from reaching a jury as the plaintiffs’ have requested.
As I reported in January, the two seasoned producers say that they and I Hate Christmas writer Denise Gruska met with then-ABC Family Director of Development Beth Miller and ABC Family VP Original Programming Donna Ebbs on December 13, 2005, at the company’s Burbank offices in a pitch meeting for their TV movie. Though everyone supposedly made nice, their idea eventually wasn’t picked up. However, when they saw 12 Dates Of Christmas in December 2011 on ABC Family, the duo felt there had been a “brazen theft,” as their complaint states, of many elements of their movie. Besides the plot and other similarities, what also fueled the producers’ outrage was that 12 Dates Of Christmas was executive produced by Miller, who had left ABC since the 2005 meeting. Disney was a defendant in the original complaint but has since been dismissed from the case with prejudice. READ MORE »
It’s the get of the day on the story of the day: ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos has netted the first TV interview with Jason Collins, the veteran NBA center who today … Read More »
SUNDAY 2ND UPDATE: Iron Man 3 internationally is opening bigger than even The Avengers with $195.3M from its first 5 days in theaters in 42 territories representing 79% of the marketplace abroad. It’s the #1 … Read More »
Disney announced that it will keep three of its theme parks open for 24 hours in a row on May 24 to celebrate the start of summer. Disneyland Park and Disney Adventure … Read More »
UPDATE: 9:20 AM: Just two days after Disney announced that Iron Man 3 would open in China on the same day as its North American release May 3, the date has changed. The sequel … Read More »
Here’s a new UK trailer for Disney/Pixar‘s Monsters University. This one focuses on Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) as they study to become “scarers.” It also introduces Helen Mirren’s Dean Hardscrabble. Steve Buscemi, John Krasinski, Nathan Fillion and Alfred Molina also star. The film … Read More »
2ND UPDATE 2:30 PM: The largest domestic movie theater chain Regal Entertainment says this post is going up on its Facebook page: “Regal has Iron Man 3! After some extensive talks with Disney, we’re glad to say that Tony Stark will definitely be in our theatres for Iron … Read More »
BREAKING: Disney is in talks with Jennifer Garner to star with Steve Carell in the Miguel Arteta-directed live-action adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Aasif Mandvi has signed on to co-star with Jon Hamm in Million Dollar Arm, the Craig Gillespie-directed pic by writer Tom McCarthy (The Visitor) for Disney. The film is based on a true story about struggling … Read More »
The blogosphere is going wild as Marvel chief Kevin Feige does interviews for Iron Man 3 and acknowledges that Daredevil has returned to the Marvel fold at Disney. We told you this was going to happen last August, when … Read More »
This is the first trailer for Marvel‘s Thor: The Dark World, the sequel to 2011′s Kenneth Branagh-directed Thor. Game Of Thrones vet Alan Taylor helms this tale of the Mighty Avenger as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy led … Read More »
A week after layoffs at Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm was hit this week with pink slips of its own. More than two dozen staff members were laid off, I have learned. The cuts came primarily in … Read More »
NYC Mayor Bloomberg didn’t have the power to make soda regulations fly, but one movie studio did. Two years ago Disney enacted a sweeping health initiative across its brand and it’s still … Read More »
You don’t have to know the language to figure out Disney, Marvel and China-based producer-distributor DMG Entertainment have pulled out all the stops to promote Iron Man 3 in China ahead of its … Read More »
Iron Man 3 doesn’t come out until May 3, but you can find out plenty about the movie today by visiting your local Albertsons. Of course, you might find it a little below your reading level. A novelization for children that … Read More »
Sparks flew last year at CinemaCon when Regal CEO Amy Miles and IMAX’s Greg Foster floated the idea of allowing texting in theaters. So how fast will audiences reject in-theater gaming? … Read More »
Disney dropped its final trailer for The Lone Ranger during its just-wrapped presentation for exhibitors at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. It’s the most expansive look yet at the Western action pic starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Next … Read More »
4:30 PM UPDATE: My sources say Carmike and Disney have come to terms.
7:30 AM UPDATE: My sources say Regal, Carmike, and as I previously reported AMC are among those big movie chains holding out.
BREAKING… 6 AM EXCLUSIVE: CinemaCon underway now in Las Vegas gives the impression that the Hollywood studios are buddy-buddy with the movie exhibitors. But there’s a frenemies drama unfolding there. I’ve learned that a number of movie theater circuits are refusing to put tickets on sale for Iron Man 3 even though its one of this summer’s most anticipated hits when it opens May 3rd. That’s because Disney decided to leverage the film in order to renegotiate the studio’s future terms with the chains beginning with this humongous Marvel blockbuster. I’m told that AMC, one of America’s largest exhibitors, is among those holding out even though the Robert Downey Jr movie opens wide in North America in just 17 days. Some chains were selling advance tickets — and then stopped. Distributors tell me Disney hasn’t negotiated its terms with the movie chains in several years — not even for Summer 2012′s huge tentpole The Avengers — so the studio thinks it’s due for a new overall deal on future Disney titles. Those include not just Marvel sequels but also Lucasfilm’s new Star Wars series as well as Pixar toons. That’s why the studio right now in Las Vegas is bargaining with the exhibition community, some of whose chains are pushing back. The result is an impasse with a number of circuits refusing to put IM3 tickets on sale until there is an accord. Read More »
Michael Rooker, who was fantastic on his now-completed run on AMC’s The Walking Dead, has been cast as one of the four founding superheroes of Guardians Of The Galaxy, the Marvel Studios pic that James Gunn is … Read More »