Warner Bros Wins Superman Copyright Battle As Heirs Denied Rehearing

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 12:27pm PST

NEW DJP LEGAL BADGEToday the seemingly endless Superman heirs copyright suit might have truly leaped its final bound. Just over a month after lawyer Marc Toberoff petitioned the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing of warner_bros_logo-2__130321233618__130419003343__131121204956__131213030736its November 21, 2013 opinion in favor of Warner Bros, the court has said no. “The panel has voted unanimously to deny the petition for rehearing,” said the order issued today. In saying no, the 9th Circuit closed the door on any more requests from the heirs of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster. “The petition for rehearing and the petition for rehearing en banc are DENIED. No further petitions for panel or en banc rehearing will be entertained,” said the one-page order. Long story short: That’s the end of the road for Toberoff and the Shuster heirs.

Related:Superman Birthday Present For Warner Bros As Court Ends Co-Creators Heirs Right Case

The  December 10, 2013 2-1 opinion reaffirmed a District Court decision supporting the position of DC Comics and its corporate parent Warner Bros that Mark Warren Peary of Shuster’s estate couldn’t file a copyright termination notice 11 years ago. WB claimed a 1992 agreement with Shuster’s siblings, in which they were to be compensated $25,000 a year for life, already delivered their Superman rights to the company.

Related: Superboy Leaps Warner Bros Legal Hurdle Read More »

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Superman Heirs Seek To Pull Warner Bros Back To Court In Copyright Battle

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 7:19pm PST

DJP LEGAL BADGEYou got to give lawyer Marc Toberoff points for perseverance. Just under three weeks after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed Warner Bros its seemingly final significant piece of the Superman copyright pie, the lawyer for the Man from Krypton co-creator’s heirs now wants a rehearing of the November 21 opinion by superman-comic-30-2__121011182348-2-2__130321233701__130405012002-1__130419004954either the panel itself or the full court. “The Opinion warrants rehearing or rehearing en banc because it contravenes Congress’ clear objectives, and this Court’s carefully-circumscribed decisions,” says the 43-page petition (read it here) filed Tuesday, citing the 1976 Copyright Act. Last month’s 2-1 opinion reaffirmed a District Court decision supporting DC Comics and its corporate parent WB’s position that Mark Peary of Joe Shuster’s estate couldn’t file a copyright termination notice in 2003. WB claimed that a 1992 agreement with Shuster’s siblings, in which they were to be compensated $25,000 a year for life, already delivered all their Superman rights to the company. Leaning heavily on dissenting Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas’s opinion, Toberoff and fellow attorney Keith G. Adams say it isn’t that simple.

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Superman Birthday Present For Warner Bros As Court Ends Case
Read More »

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Paul Walker’s Manager Matt Luber Looks Back On 18 Years Growing Up Together

By | Thursday December 5, 2013 @ 12:42pm PST
Mike Fleming

Paul Walker Manager Fast & FuriousEXCLUSIVE: When they help build a Hollywood star career, agents and managers know it can all end in a moment. That usually comes in the form of a phone call, informing them that client has dropped them for another rep. While that is hard to bear, I have been imagining how much worse it has been for Luber Rocklin Entertainment’s Matt Luber. His 18-year run with Paul Walker ended with a Saturday phone call as Luber and his daughter were leaving a sports bar to attend a college football game in Phoenix. That is when Luber learned that Walker had died instantly at age 40 in a tragic car crash.

Related: ‘Fast & Furious’ Star Paul Walker Killed In Car Crash

Understandably, much of the press coverage since has focused on the fast car that spun out of control with Walker riding shotgun, and the repercussions for Fast & Furious 7, which was halfway done and on a Thanksgiving holiday when Walker attended a charity event in Southern California and climbed into a Porsche driven by his friend, Roger Rodas. Less plentiful have been the details on who Walker really was. And how a guy that handsome, and one of the drivers of Universal’s most lucrative billion-dollar Fast & Furious franchise, managed to keep his private life largely private. Mindful that Luber is mourning his friend and signature client of nearly two decades, I asked him to help fill out that part of the picture. While he often found it hard to find the words during our conversation, Luber felt it was worth talking about who this guy really was.

Related: Universal Formalizes ‘Fast & Furious 7′ Postponement

lubWhat became clear is that a major reason Walker had something of a stealth career was, he just had no interest in playing the movie star game, and relished operating under the radar. He liked acting in movies, sure, but he did not want to be defined by that. If there was one indelible example of this for Luber, it came early in their run together, when Walker was close to landing the lead role of Superman for Warner Bros. This was a job that would bring an oversized payday for a young actor, with sequel options that potentially would set him up forever.

“This was a mega-payday we were looking at, and I get a call from him in my office,” Luber recalled. “He tells me, ‘Get me the F out of here. I am standing here in these boots, I’m wearing a cape, tights and I’ve got an S on my chest. I’m leaving. I’m not doing it. I’m not wearing the boots, I’m not wearing the S. I’m not doing any of it, so get me the F out of here.’ And that was the end of the Superman screen test.”

Losing the chance to commission a big salary like that is certainly enough to tax any manager’s patience. But Luber by then had become one of Walker’s closest friends. And he couldn’t help but admire his buddy’s instincts for knowing what was right for him, and making hard choices on what was not. Becoming defined globally as a superhero was not at all what Walker wanted.

paulw“Paul had his priorities clear, always,” Luber told me. “So if there was a sick relative in Oregon, which there was, he was going to bypass a big meeting with a director that would have gotten him a certain great role. If someone close to him was in need, that was more important. It wasn’t always easy for me, but I was proud of him that his heart was in the right place. If something involving close friends and family was going to get in the way of a picture, sure we’d always have the conversation, but the way he balanced friendship with business, you always knew Paul was going to choose the former over the latter. The reason you didn’t see him in the cameo in Fast & Furious 3? Paul was dealing with an ailing grandfather. There was no changing his mind on these things. It caused us some stressful moments, but these were definitely things we could joke about later.” Read More »

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By Pete Hammond – The steady, emotional journey of award-winning documentary Bridegroom continues with its availability for sale beginning today on iTunes and Amazon. But it is an Academy Award nomination — or even just making that shortlist – that filmmakers Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and husband Harry Thomason really want in order to carry their message of love and tolerance for gay couples worldwide.

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Warner Bros Wins Last Piece Of ‘Superman’ Copyright Case

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 1:05pm PST

Looks like Warner Bros is finally free of the last copyright Kryptonite plaguing its ownership of Superman. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today handed the studio another legal win in its battle with the estates of the Man of Steel’s co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – and the court did it with some degree of humor. “In this appeal, we address another chapter in the long-running saga regarding the ownership of copyrights in Superman — a story almost as old as the Man of Steel himself,” said the court’s memorandum today (read it here) reaffirming an earlier ruling for WB by district Judge Otis Wright III. ”We are obviously very pleased with the court’s decision,” said a WB spokesperson in an understatement today. The Appeals Court decision was 2-1, with Judges Stephen Reinhardt and John Sedwick in the majority and Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas dissenting. The 9th Circuit also makes a point of admonishing the estates and their lawyer Marc Toberoff for playing hide and seek with certain facts. The attorney was additionally involved in pursuing an effort with the heirs to create new Superman pics and properties via his Pacific Pictures company if the rights were secured back from WB. “We note that their failure (and that of Toberoff, their attorney and business partner) to disclose this information in the 2003 notice of termination itself appears to violate the relevant regulations governing notices of termination,” the ruling says.

Related:
Superman Birthday Present For Warner Bros As Court Ends Co-Creators Heirs Right Case
Superboy Leaps Warner Bros Legal Hurdle

While not holding up this summer’s Man Of Steel blockbuster or seriously threatening any such sequels, today’s decision removes any final hindrance the studio could have faced in further Superman or Superboy properties. On the other hand, this particular decision has been a long time coming as the appeal was argued in Pasadena on May 23 of this year. Read More »

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Hot Short Film: Zack Snyder’s 75th Anniversary Superman Tribute

By | Tuesday October 15, 2013 @ 8:39pm PDT

The Man of Steel helmer’s action-packed two minutes-plus follows Superman from Action Comics #1 through 75 years of comic book, TV, film, even video game incarnations. Zack Snyder, Bruce Timm and Warner Bros Animation created the clip in which the Last Son of Krypton leaps a tall building … Read More »

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Justin Bieber As Robin In ‘Man Of Steel’ Sequel? Or Is It An Instascam?

By | Friday September 13, 2013 @ 9:30pm PDT

And you thought the Bat-backlash over Ben Affleck was harsh. Days after Jimmy Kimmel admitted punking the media and the masses with his “Twerk Fail” video — and the same day a Glee star signed Read More »

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Squash Those Petitions! Why Ben Affleck As Batman Is Good Move For Warner Bros

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 1:36pm PDT
Mike Fleming

OPINION: I was as surprised as anyone when Ben Affleck was named the new Batman by Warner Bros. While I know I will be incurring the Wrath of Khan from a certain segment of Deadline readers for saying this, I do not share the alarm expressed by just about all 300+ Deadline commenters who’ve condemned the move and feel it’s awful for Affleck, Warner Bros, and humanity as a whole.

Related: Ben Affleck To Play Batman In Warners’ Batman-Superman Pic

This is the biggest Affleck surprise I can recall since I saw Gone Baby Gone and was surprised to see that he was a helluva filmmaker. I guess what I’m saying is, Affleck has earned some rope from us; he  knows what he is doing. I know he’s read the script, and he loves the concept. After watching Robert Downey Jr unexpectedly (at the time) establish himself as a global superstar after he auditioned for and won over Marvel for Iron Man, I see a lot of upside for Affleck to bolster his global viability, without a lot of career risk. This is a giant coup for the fledgling Greg Silverman-Sue Kroll regime at Warner Bros. Not only in their effort to create global hits, but also in their effort to strengthen studio ties to Affleck after the turbulent exit of Jeff Robinov (who’ll be looking to bring guys like Affleck over if and when he ever takes the top film job at Fox).

Related: Superman Sequel Will Feature Batman In “Explosive New Film”

Even though I couldn’t understand all of the gravelly dialogue lines he delivered from beneath the Batmask, Christian Bale’s three turns as the Caped Crusader gave him global cred. They didn’t discount his other screen performances, either. That’s because, like Affleck and Downey, Bale wasn’t a newcomer when he took the job (newbies from George Reeves to Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh seem to get imprinted by the role and disappear after). His Batman persona also didn’t stop Oscar voters from giving Bale the trophy for his performance in The Fighter.

Affleck isn’t the same guy he was when he made 2003′s Daredevil, or when he hurt his career by starring with off-screen squeeze Jennifer Lopez in Gigli. After that, he smartly worked his tail off to write his career a second act as a writer-director who stars in his own films. That is his identity now. He’s the guy who directed, produced and starred in the reigning Best Picture Oscar winner Argo, and he has The Town and Gone Baby Gone under his belt. Name another filmmaker outside of Christopher Nolan whose last three films stack up with that kind of quality? Even if he moonlights as Batman, it doesn’t change that true identity. And I thought he did a great job acting in Argo and The Town.

Also, those painful career lessons made Affleck shrewdly selective. If this works, he will have created a great role he can return to in between his directorial outings, the same way that Downey will do for future Avengers installments. Affleck won’t have to carry these movies himself, and I’d be surprised if he made a freestanding Batfilm.

I have been waiting for Warner Bros to turn a corner with its DC Comics crimefighter universe, beyond Batman and Superman. They’ve taken a step in that direction even if it is by combining those two characters. Now, they have a bona fide leading man in the fold (because Henry Cavill could not pack a movie house right now if he wasn’t wearing the red cape). Suddenly, the next step, the inevitable Justice League film, looks intriguing and I bet more big names will enlist by the time that movie gets made. Sure, I’d feel better if Nolan was still steering it all, but a lot of people liked Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel. The DC franchise effort seems to be in good hands. And imagine if Affleck really likes the job enough to rescind his previous pass and direct that Justice League movie? Read More »

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Official: Superman Sequel Will Feature Batman In “One Explosive New Film”

BREAKING… UPDATE: Official Press Release Below… The Superman logo was just superimposed with the Batman logo on the screen at the close of the much anticipated Warner Bros-Legendary Pictures panel inside the San Diego Convention Center at Comic-Con. This momentous DC Entertainment development from Warner Bros was not on the schedule, according to Deadline contributor Ross Lincoln covering the event. Instead, Zack Snyder came out on stage and announced, “It’s official that we are going to make another Superman movie. I’ve pored through the DC universe for a way to tell this thing.” With that, Harry Lennix who plays General Swanwick in Man Of Steel began quoting from Frank Miller’s 1986 The Dark Knight Returns and Miller’s follow-up Batman: Year One graphic novel series where an older Batman tricks Superman with Kryptonite and beats up the Man of Steel — then the scene ends with Batman faking his own death, a fact Superman becomes aware of at the funeral and keeps the secret: ”In all the years to come, in all the most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.” Snyder said the filmmakers won’t be using that source but it will help them in the story they’re telling. Set for release in 2015, this sequel is to be directed by Snyder and written by David S. Goyer featuring two of WB/DC’s most iconic superheroes and is certain to compete with Marvel. Christian Bale has said he does not wish to reprise his Bruce Wayne aka Batman role so the studio will be searching for a new Batman to pair with Henry Cavill. Snyder later said, “I’m so excited to begin working again with Henry Cavill in the world we created, and I can’t wait to expand the DC Universe in this next chapter. Let’s face it, it’s beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest superheroes in the world.” Here is the Warner Bros press release announcing that the next DC superhero movie is in pre-production uniting Superman and Batman “in one explosive new film. Man Of Steel is still in theaters has grossed $625+M worldwide while Christopher Nolan’s rebooted Batman trilogy has amassed $4 billion globally:

BURBANK, CA, July 20, 2013 – On the heels of the worldwide success of “Man of Steel,” director Zack Snyderis bringing together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time—Batman and Superman—for the first time on the big screen.  The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution,Warner Bros. Pictures.

The current hit, “Man of Steel,” has taken in more than $630 million at the worldwide box office to date, and climbing.  Along with its star, Henry Cavill, the upcomingfilm brings back Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.  The new Batman has yet to be cast.

Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who will then pen the screenplay.  Production is expected to begin in 2014, with an anticipated release date inSummer 2015.

Silverman stated, “Zack Snyder is an incredibly talented filmmaker, but beyond that, he’s a fan first and he utterly gets this genre.  We could not think of anyone better suited to the task of bringing these iconic Super Heroes to the screen in his own way.”   Kroll added, “We are thrilled to be back in business with Zack and his team on this next movie.  The success of ‘Man of Steel’ is a wonderful testament to the love and support that both fans and new audiences, worldwide, have for these characters.  We are very excited to see what Zack has in store for all of us.”

Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment, noted,“Superman and Batman together on the big screen is a dream come true for DC fans everywhere. All of us at DCEntertainment could not be more excited for Zack’s continuing vision for the DC Universe.”

Read More »

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‘Man Of Steel’ Passes Half Billion Global

By | Sunday June 30, 2013 @ 11:01am PDT

Warner Bros Pictures and co-financier Legendary Pictures said today that its Superman reboot earned more than $500 million worldwide Saturday with some international territories still to open. Warner Bros Pictures President of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman and … Read More »

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Is ‘Man Of Steel’s Big Spoiler Turning Off Audiences As Sequel Ramps Up?

By | Tuesday June 25, 2013 @ 8:30pm PDT

If you haven’t seen Man Of Steel yet, don’t read this article because I’m going to be discussing a major spoiler in the film. SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Superman fans are still in shock from the final moments of Warner BrosMan Of Steel, in which the iconic hero with an impenetrable sense of justice makes a choice that leaves blood on his hands. Read More »

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‘Man Of Steel’ Speeds To $400M Worldwide: Superman Still #1 Box Office Internationally

By | Sunday June 23, 2013 @ 11:04am PDT

SUNDAY 11 AM UPDATE: The Superman reboot continues as a super-hit internationally. Here and overseas, Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ holdover 3D Man Of Steel (4,207 theaters in the widest release) went into this weekend as still the big #1 leader … Read More »

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‘Man Of Steel’ Sequel Underway With Zack Snyder And David S. Goyer

EXCLUSIVE: This isn’t exactly a surprise given the hot anticipation and theatrical buzz awaiting Man Of Steel‘s limited opening Thursday and wide release Friday in 4,200+ theaters. But I’ve learned it’s official: Warner Bros Pictures is … Read More »

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‘Man Of Steel’ Behind The Scenes Featurette: Video

By | Monday June 3, 2013 @ 5:06pm PDT

Man Of Steel‘s marketing is cranking up ahead of its June 14 release, so WB’s just released a lengthy peek inside the Superman sausage factory. Here’s Zack Snyder & Co. explaining their new Supes reboot in a 13-minute featurette:

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Warners Reveals Identity Of Superman 75th Anniversary Logo

By | Thursday May 30, 2013 @ 3:59pm PDT

Superman 75 logoSuperman turned 75 last month – coincidentally the same day a U.S. District Court ruling effectively ended Warner Bros’ long-running legal battle with one of the iconic character’s co-creators. Six weeks … Read More »

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New ‘Man Of Steel’ Television Spot #6

By | Saturday May 25, 2013 @ 10:41pm PDT

This 6th Superman TV spot shows new footage featuring a lot of Russell Crowe. Warner Bros’ much anticipated Man Of Steel goes wide on June 14th:

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Hot TV Spot: ‘Man Of Steel’

By | Monday May 6, 2013 @ 12:00pm PDT

Warner Bros. just unveiled a new TV spot for Zack Snyder‘s June 14 Superman pic. Henry Cavill stars as the Kryptonian superhero, glimpsed here in action with Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as Zod:


Watch Read More »

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Superboy Leaps Warner Bros Legal Hurdle

By | Thursday April 18, 2013 @ 7:52pm PDT

The latest Superman reboot Man of Steel is hitting the big screen this summer. But today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in the studio’s favor means Warner Bros now has full license to … Read More »

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Superman Birthday Present For Warner Bros As Court Ends Co-Creator Heirs Rights Case

By | Thursday April 18, 2013 @ 5:54pm PDT

On the 75th anniversary today of Superman’s debut, Warner Bros got some more good news about the Man of Steel. The last elements of WB and its subsidiary DC Comics legal issues with the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel effectively came to an end Thursday with a US District Court ruling on the rights to Superboy and some Superman ads. “The Court holds that the 2001 settlement agreement between DC and the Siegels re-granted the Siegels’ Superman, Superboy, and a Superman advertisements that ran in the 1930s to DC in return for substantial advances and royalties,” wrote Judge Otis Wright III today (read it here). “The remainder of Defendants’ Motion is therefore Granted and this litigation of superhero proportions now draws to a close,” the federal judge added in not uncharacteristic fashion.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Man Of Steel’ Read More »

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