The trustees to author Philip K. Dick want an adjustment on their fees for The Adjustment Bureau – a rather larger adjustment of more than $500,000. In a 14-page civil case complaint filed today in LA Superior Court, (read the suit here) The Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust says that director George Nolfi, producer Michael Hackett, Media Rights Capitol and its subsidiaries owe them at least half a million dollars plus fees and other damages “to be proven at trial” from the 2011 film. Citing Breach of Contract and four other claims, the Trust says that the defendants have refused repeated requests to open the accounting books. They also claim they have been shortchanged payments due to them from the film’s net profits and that Nolfi, Hackett and MRC have “demanded the return” of the $1.4 million fee paid in April 2009 for the movie rights.
This suit, filed in state court, comes over two months after the Trustees abandoned a previous federal case against Nolfi and MRC when the judge dismissed key claims citing lack of jurisdiction.
Starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau, was released on March 4, 2011 to good reviews and fairly strong box office. The movie, according to today’s suit and others, has made around $128 million in global box office as well as $10 million in domestic DVD sales, plus “unknown millions in international DVD sales” as well as TV … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Marvel Studios short list of directors for Captain America 2 just got smaller. The list includes Community‘s Joe & Anthony Russo and The Adjustment Bureau helmer George Nolfi, but I’m told Marvel is talking to others for a film that Disney just dated that film for April 4, 2014, with a storyline that picks up after the upcoming Joss Whedon-directed The Avengers. F. Gary Gray had been on that short list, but I’m hearing that he has withdrawn from consideration and is in hot and heavy negotiations to direct the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton for New Line Cinema. He’ll likely do that film instead.
Following the dismissal of the Philip K. Dick’s lawsuit over The Adjustment Bureau, Media Rights Capital expressed relief and a sense of vindication. In its statement today, MRC said “We could not be happier for our partner George Nolfi now that the lawsuit concerning The Adjustment Bureau, brought by the heirs of the Philip K. Dick estate has been dismissed. George is not only a talented artist, but an individual of the highest integrity and to claim or suggest otherwise is both offensive and completely unwarranted.”
Attorney for Dick’s estate Justin M. Goldstein responded, “The judge’s ruling and our decision to dismiss the remaining portions of the federal case had nothing to do with the merits of any of the claims. The judge only concluded that state court is the appropriate forum for the dispute.”
When the suit was filed in October 2011, the estate alleged MRC was attempting to avoid payments for the rights to use Dick’s story for the movie that starred Matt Damon. Writer-director Nolfi had optioned the story and renewed the option multiple times. MRC eventually paid to exercise the option for more than $1.6 million. MRC then asserted that they had discovered the material was in the public domain and attempted to get their money back. The Dick estate trust then sued MRC.
BREAKING: Attorneys for the estate of iconic science fiction author Philip K. Dick have filed suit in US District Court in California against Media Rights Capital over what it alleges is an attempt to get out of payments for the rights to use Dick’s short story as the basis for the Matt Damon thriller The Adjustment Bureau. The complaint alleges that MRC is using the argument that the material is in the public domain. The heart of the complaint is this: When writer/director George Nolfi optioned the material from the estate in 2001, he agreed to pay $25,000 against a $1 million-$1.85 million purchase price, depending on the film’s budget, as well as 2.5% of net profits.
MRC, which bought the project in 2009 and executed the purchase of the material, paid the estate $1.4 million. The estate believes it is owed more than $500,000 that should have been paid when the film reached break even. Instead, The suit alleges that MRC has breached the contract and tried to slip out of these obligations by challenging the copyright status of the underlying material. Turns out the short story was first published on a science fiction magazine in July, 1954, but the estate claims it was done without the knowledge of the author. The first authorized publication of the material, the estate claims, came in 1973 in a collection of Dick’s stories. The complaint claims MRC concealed it would challenge the copyright … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy is developing a TV series based on this year’s MRC/Universal Pictures movie The Adjustment Bureau, which was written, directed and produced by George Nolfi and starred Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Former Smallville executive producers Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin are writing the TV adaptation, which is being produced by MRC. Nolfi is executive producing with Swimmer and Slavkin, with Michael Hackett, a producer on the feature, serving as co-executive producer. The 2011 sci-fi thriller, based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Adjustment Team centered on a rising politician (Damon) whose budding romance with a dancer (Blunt) is intercepted by the Adjustment Bureau, a secret organization with special powers, which uses them to ensure that people’s lives follow the chairman of the Bureau’s plan for them. MRC doesn’t normally do traditional network development, but the deal for The Adjustment Bureau stems from the fact that Syfy is a sister network of Universal Pictures, which released the MRC-produced movie. In addition to Adjustment Bureau, WME-repped Slavkin and Swimmer also are writing a high-tech character-driven procedural for NBC and Wolf Films.