You’ve got one week to drop your case or we’ll go after you for malicious prosecution. That in a nutshell is what an email today from a lawyer for Warner Bros told the attorneys for plaintiff Ryan A Brooks in his copyright suit over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve. Still Brook’s lawyer Gerald Fox says he has no intention to end the suit. “This is typical big firm bullying,” he told me today. “If that’s the best they can do I’ll see them in court.” Thursday’s email from lawyer Matthew Kline of the L.A. offices of O’Melveny & Myers is WB’s first legalish response to a multi-million dollar 12-claim complaint filed on October 1 against WB, UTA, Gersh, director Robert Lorenz, screenwriter Randy Brown and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions among others. Eastwood himself is not named. However, in the suit, Brooks claims Curve actually came from three of his copyrighted scripts about college baseball written by actor Don Handfield based on the plaintiff’s knowledge of that world. Handfield, who Brooks later had a biz falling out with, is also named as a defendant in the suit. Officially WB or the other defendants have not responded to the suit through the courts. The studio will only say that “the lawsuit is reckless and the allegations false.” However, Kline’s email to Fox today calls the suit nonsense and told the plaintiff’s lawyer to withdraw the case from federal court by October 18 or face the legal consequences. The email also had attachments of a $2,500 check paid to Brown for a 1998 option on an early draft of the Curve screenplay as well as a copy of the early draft. Fox told me that he has seen no registration with the WGA or anyone else of Brown’s script and that he has experts which will testify to the striking resemblance of the Omaha script, as the work Brooks hired Handfield to write was called, to the Curve movie. At this rate, and with these tactics by O’Melveny & Myers, who played very rough in WB’s Superman copyright case and where Kline was one of the studio’s lawyers, expect this legal match-up to more resemble a street fight than a ball game.
Writer Sues Warner Bros And Others Claiming They Stole Idea For Clint Eastwood’s ‘Trouble With The Curve’
Ryan A. Brooks filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming that Warner Bros’ Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve came from three of his copyrighted scripts and a concept reel from Brooks’ production company. Among the defendants named in the 119-page suit (read it here) is Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, several Warner Bros divisions and talent agencies UTA and Gersh. It alleges that the script of the 2012 movie credited to Randy Brown was actually penned by Don Handfield, whom Brooks had contracted on a work-for-hire basis along with his wife Tressa Difiglia Handfield to help him write Omaha, also a baseball movie with a father-daughter story at its center. “The copyrighted scripts and concept reel bear more than a striking resemblance to Trouble With The Curve“, said Gerard P. Fox, who is representing Brooks and his company Gold Glove Productions.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘End Of Watch’ Clear #1; Clint Eastwood’s Baseball Drama Tied With Jennifer Lawrence’s Horror ‘House’ For #2; ‘Dredd 3D’ Dreadful On Very Soft Weekend
SUNDAY PM UPDATE: That’s the pecking order before Monday actuals, according to my sources. This was one of those weekends which can only be described as box office hell for me. Because the three top pics were neck-and-neck for #1 this weekend. Final film order came down to Sunday late shows on the West Coast with Open Road’s End Of Watch easily placing #1 with $13+M. There’s still a battle for 2nd place after Relativity’s The House At The End of The Street came in way under their estimate, while Warner Bros’ Trouble With The Curve came in a little below their estimate as well. Lionsgate’s Dredd still did dreadful. All four newcomers are low- to medium-budget movies, but none opened to more than $13+M this very soft weekend. And total filmgoing likely won’t add up to a lot more than $88M, which is down a big -25% from last year. “It’s a close race to mediocrity with no winners,” one movie exec snarked to me.
Tokyo Hosts ‘Trouble With The Curve’
Clint Eastwood-starrer Trouble With The Curve will close the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 28. Directed by frequent Eastwood collaborator Robert Lorenz, the film stars Eastwood as an aging baseball scout and Amy Adams as his estranged daughter. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard and Robert Patrick also star. Warner Bros has set the U.S. release for September 21. The festival opens October 20 with Paramount’s 3D Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away, exec produced by James Cameron and directed by Andrew Adamson.
News Corp Presses Binding Offer
News Corp has moved to solidify its hold on Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel and the Fox Sports channels with a binding takeover bid for Consolidated Media Holdings. CMH owns 25% of Foxtel and 50% of Fox Sports. News is offering $A3.45 ($3.55) per share, valuing the company controlled by James Packer at $1.94 billion. That’s a bit less than News Corp’s non-binding cash offer made in June, but shareholders will receive a 6 cents per share dividend. Said Packer, exec chairman of 50% shareholder Consolidated Press Holdings: “This is a great outcome for CMH shareholders and for News and it reflects a fair price.” There was no immediate response from Seven Group Holdings, which has a 25.3% stake in CMH and has asked regulators whether it could buy the balance. A decision is due September 13. News owns 25% of Foxtel and the other 50% of Fox Sports. If the News deal proceeds it’s expected to close in November. Citi media analyst Justin Diddams told Deadline it’s unlikely the Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven Group will make a counter-offer. -Don Groves