After almost two years, the $50 million Escape From Planet Earth lawsuit against the Weinstein Company is over. The distributor came to a settlement with plaintiffs Brian Inerfeld and Tony Leech on February 15, the same day the animated film was released. In a document (read it here) filed in the New York Supreme Court, lawyers for both sides filed a motion of discontinuance in the case, effectively ending it. No details of the settlement were made available but because the motion was filed “with prejudice” both sides will be paying their own legal costs. Maybe they all knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of cash for anyone to get. Escape From Planet Earth, which cost $70 million, made only $20.3 million at the box office over its opening holiday four-day weekend. This legal battle started back in March 2011 when the two plaintiffs sued the Weinsteins claiming that the “out of control” brothers “sabotaged what should have been a highly profitable movie through a potent combination of hubris, incompetence, profligate spending and contempt for contractual obligations.” In their suit the duo also claimed that the Weinsteins paid them half a million bucks to keep quiet while the company conducted an ultimately successful campaigned to win The King’s Speech a Best Oscar. Harvey and Bob responded in calling Inerfeld …
Feature film and TV exec Michael Hefferon has joined CGI animation studio Rainmaker Entertainment as president and executive producer. The announcement by Rainmaker Chairman and CEO Craig Graham reflects the Vancouver-based company’s growth in animation services and original productions such as its partnership with The Weinstein Company on Escape From Planet Earth. As head of Rainmaker, Hefferon joins Kim Dent Wilder, SVP production and operations. Hefferon joins Rainmaker Entertainment from Bardel Entertainment where he oversaw numerous productions and associations with broadcasters worldwide. Separately, Bardel Entertainment CEO Delna Bhesania was appointed to Rainmaker’s board of directors.
The Weinstein Company has posted the first trailer for the animated space alien adventure Escape From Planet Earth. The project has been the subject of prickly back-and-forth litigation between TWC and the original filmmakers, producer Brian Inerfeld and director Tony Leech who departed the project in 2010. Credits now list Despicable Me storyboard artist Cal Brunker as the director, with writing credits going to Bob Barlen & Brunker, based on a story by Leech & Cory Edwards. Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jane Lynch, Paul Reubens and Rob Corddry provide voices. It’s scheduled to open February 14, 2013.
They didn’t get to make Escape From Planet Earth but the producer and the director suing the Weinstein Company for $50 million will get to see it soon. “Brian Inerfeld, Tony Leech and their counsel (collectively “Plaintiffs) shall be permitted to view the current version of the film titled Escape From Planet Earth ( “the Draft Film”) at a private screening arranged by The Weinstein Company, LLC (“TWC”),” ordered judge Paul Feinman about the animated film on June 18. This ruling (read it here), said the judge, “..in conjunction with ongoing settlement discussions” between the parties in the multi-million suit that Inerfeld, Leech and Protocal Pictures filed against the Weinsteins last March. In standard procedural legal language, the New York Supreme Court judge also reminded the plaintiffs that they “shall not reveal any information about the Draft Film to any person not entitled to receive such information under the terms of the Confidentiality Order.” Escape From Planet Earth is scheduled to be released on February 14, 2013. No word on when or where the screening for Leech and Inerfeld will be held. The Weinstein brothers are not expected to be in attendance for the screening. However, with the parties at this stage, in what has been a contentious and salacious suit so far, any settlement talks must be now discussing credits for Leech, who also co-wrote the original script, and Inerfeld.
NEW YORK, NY August 2, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Rainmaker Entertainment announced today the all-star voice cast for ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH which includes Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, James Gandolfini and Craig Robinson. The 3D animated family comedy is currently in full production.
The announcement was made today by Donna Gigliotti, TWC’s President of Production, and Catherine Winder, President and Executive Producer, Rainmaker Entertainment. Both Gigliotti and Winder serve as producers on the animated feature film.
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is directed by Cal Brunker, best known for his work on the animated feature films DESPICABLE ME, 9 and HORTON HEARS A WHO! Producers Gigliotti and Winder are joined by Rainmaker’s Luke Carroll as a producer on the film. TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein are executive producers. The film was written by Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen based on an original screenplay by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards.
Brendan Fraser Kicks Career Into Overdrive Shooting ‘Four Kings’, ‘Escape From Planet Earth’ & ‘Gimme Shelter’ All This Summer
EXCLUSIVE: You remember Brendan Fraser, right? Whose movie career has been in the witness protection program since CBS Films’ Extraordinary Measures and hasn’t had a major hit since 2008′s Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3D and The Mummy 3. But whose roles remain as eclectic as anyone’s in Hollywood? Well, he hasn’t changed his ways even though he’s been absent from the box office recently. Fraser will star in what’s being billed to me as a “sweeping epic historical drama” that starts production in Toronto in August. Four Kings is set against the French and Indian War that essentially divided North America. Executive produced by Todd Moyer and James Holt, the film is produced by Jeff Sackman (American Psycho) from a project developed by Telefilm Canada. Fraser, himself a Canadian-American, stars as Colonel Lord Francis Nicholson, a vastly wealthy Brit who self-finances the war in the hope of creating a utopian society in what is now Canada. Writer/director Damian Lee of Alchemist Entertainment is attached.
Fraser will also voice the role of Scorch in The Weinstein Company’s much-delayed 3D animated film, Escape From Planet Earth, about a group of aliens plotting to escape that top-secret Nevada compound popular with conspiracists known as Area 51. It was first announced back in 2006, no kidding! The film is
Protocol Pictures partners Tony Leech and Brian Inerfeld filed a 60-page legal claim today against The Weinstein Company in New York State Supreme Court. The $50 million suit is over their removal from the animated film Escape From Planet Earth, and it is a colorful document containing a litany of volatile charges ranging from the assertion that Harvey and Bob Weinstein were out of control, and tried to hush up the plaintiffs by giving them $500,000 to keep quiet the complaint until the Oscars were over. Most of these kinds of battles get settled in arbitration, but you can read the entire complaint here:
The Weinsteins, who are in a dispute with Michael Moore over profits he said he’s owed on Farhenheit 9/11, were quick to hit back in the stereo effect of two high-powered attorneys. Said Bert Fields of Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger LLP: “This is a completely frivolous lawsuit. The pleading contains little more than false, gratuitous, slanderous, preposterous and totally irrelevant personal attacks on TWC and its principals. Plaintiffs were let go after they refused to make the picture which TWC wanted. They were paid in excess of $2,000,000 which is what was called for by their contract. They then threatened to “go public” with false assertions about TWC’s principals unless they were paid money to which they were not entitled. Their conduct has been unethical and reprehensible. I can’t wait to get them under oath.”
Added David Boies …