If you thought the already invective-heavy multimillion-dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright lawsuit against Warner Bros and others couldn’t turn into more of a dugout brawl, think again. In a flurry of filings today in federal court before a February 24 hearing on Warners’ motion to dismiss the suit from Ryan A Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions, plaintiffs lawyer Gerard Fox stepped it up a notch — or took it down, depending on your perspective. “This shading of facts, this bullying, this name calling, and these highly unprofessional acts all indicate desperation and nothing more,” he said in response (read it here) to Warners’ scathing reply brief of last week and the actions of its lawyers Daniel Petrocelli, Matt Kline and Ashley Pearson of LA firm O’Melveny & Myers. Brooks first filed his lawsuit October 1 over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic.
Specifically, in the filings today, Fox is crying foul on the lawyers for the way they characterized and treated the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses — many of whom Warners pummeled in its reply brief. “The fact that some of these experts have had their testimony rejected by some courts, while being accepted by others, is of no more significance to the facts of this case than the number of times a sitting judge is reversed,” says the lawyer. Noting a professor who the defense have used in past cases for other studios, Fox takes aim at the O’Melveny & Myers trio. “In this case they have called him, on the record, without any cause but their own taunting behavior, a sexist,” he writes in the 10-page filing today. “Moreover, during the deposition of Columbia Professor David Yerkes, defense counsel made a statement that one could opine was meant to suggest he was racist. Such unprofessional comments are beyond the pale.”
Warner Bros has some real trouble with the experts that the plaintiffs in the multi-million dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright lawsuit have been using. Real trouble. Like throwing them and the whole case out of the game trouble for submitting “sanctionable” reports and not knowing what they are talking about. “Rather than show triable fact issues on the evidence defendants actually offered, plaintiffs seek a hearing on other uncited evidence, calling it a fraud. Such claims are irrelevant and recklessly false,” says WB legal team in a scathing reply brief filed Saturday in federal court (read it here). “The Court need not address these sideshow attacks to grant this motion or bring this wasteful case to its much needed end.” WB adds.
The studio wants Judge Dale Fisher to grant their December 4, 2013 motion to toss the complaint that Ryan A Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions filed on October 1 over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams pic. Naming a whack of defendants including WB, Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions and talent agencies UTA and Gersh in his multi-claim filing. Brooks alleged that the baseball movie credited to screenwriter Randy Brown was in fact lifted from a script written by one Don Handfield for him years beforehand. Late last month, Brooks’ attorney Gerard Fox responded to WB’s … Read More »
The lawsuit over the 2012 Warner Bros baseball pic Trouble With The Curve just lobbed a potential legal bombshell. In a filing today (read it here), plaintiff Ryan A Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions say they have “clear and convincing proof that Defendants’ testimony and other alleged evidence rests upon fraudulent documents and things.” Citing a digital investigator looking at computer disks submitted by Warners in the case, Brooks’ lawyers claim that there is “clear evidence that the date/time stamps of the disks were manipulated to present inaccurate information about date of creation.” Despite the allegations, the studio wasn’t giving any ground. “The lawsuit is reckless and a waste of time and money. The allegations are false,” a WB spokesperson told me. Warner Bros released Trouble With The Curve in September 2012 and the pic grossed $35.8 million domestically and almost $50 million worldwide.
The filing today in federal court opposed Warner Bros’ December 4 motion for summary judgment to get the breach of contract and contract infringement case tossed. In an initial multimillion-dollar filing on October 1, Brooks alleged that the Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams pic credited to screenwriter Randy Brown was in fact written by one Don Handfield. Pushing back, WB said in December that it has “extensive, indisputable evidence” that Brown completed a number of drafts of what became the film and pushed to have the suit dismissed. Late last year, the studio submitted evidence to that end. That’s when plaintiff’s lawyer Gerard Fox brought aboard former U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agent Trevor Reschke as his digital investigator. Read More »
The legal battle over who actually wrote the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve today hit fastball territory. Just a couple of days after Warner Bros threw back in a motion to have Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions’ multimillion dollar copyright infringement case against them tossed, the plaintiffs are now seeking a summary judgment of their own. “While often the issues related to these types of claims of copyright infringement raise factual issues requiring a full trial, the evidence presented herein as relates to these specific claims of intentional infringement weighs so heavily in favor of such a finding that it can fairly be said that no reasonable juror could find to the contrary,” says the motion filed today in federal court in LA (read it here). Along with the motion, the plaintiffs filed a number of declarations today asserting their case. Among other things, the declaration from Brooks (read it here) notes that it was an October 5, 2011 piece by my colleague Mike Fleming Jr on Eastwood joining a project called Trouble With The Curve that alerted him to the film and its supposed similarity to the scripts that he owned. Eastwood is not named as defendant in the the initial October 1 12-claim filing but WB, UTA, Gersh, director Robert Lorenz, screenwriter Randy Brown and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions … Read More »
The only real surprise here is what took the studio so long. Warner Bros on Wednesday formally swung back at the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve. To continue the ballgame lingo, the studio doesn’t think the court should even step up to the plate to claims by Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions, first filed October 1, that the idea for the Randy Brown-written film was stolen — WB wants the case thrown out. “The Warner Defendants’ motion for summary judgment should be granted and this case should be brought to a halt before defendants have to incur any further costs in defending it,” says the motion (read it here) filed Wednesday in federal court. “The Warner Defendants appreciate that early summary judgment motions are not the norm, but this case calls out for it, especially given the salaciousness of the complaint and Plaintiffs’ abject refusal to face the reality — attested to by various third-party witnesses — that Mr. Brown wrote TWTC in the 1990s.” Brooks is seeking tens of millions in his case as well as all the profits for the film. Curve came out in September 2012 and was a middling success with $35.8 million grossed domestically and about $50 million worldwide.
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 actuallycame 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.” … Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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 Read More »
Warner Bros put up a trailer today for Trouble With The Curve with Clint Eastwood as a veteran baseball scout whose daughter, played by Amy Adams, accompanies him on a trip to check out a hot prospect. John Goodman, Justin Timberlake and Matthew Lillard co-star. Directed by Robert Lorenz and written by Randy Brown, it opens September 21st:
EXCLUSIVE: Justin Timberlake has landed a starring role in Trouble With The Curve, the Robert Lorenz-directed Warner Bros film that will star Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays a veteran scout who goes on a scouting trip with his daughter (Adams). The goal is to scout a new phenom. Timberlake will play a rival scout who is sweet on the elder scout’s daughter. Warner Bros just dated the film for September 28. Timberlake is about to star in Inside Llewyn Davis, which is directed by the Coens. Timberlake is repped by WME and managed by Jennifer Killoran and Rick Yorn.
Warner Bros has assigned Trouble With The Curve (tentative title) a release date of September 28, 2012. The movie stars Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams as an aging baseball scout accompanied by his daughter on one final road trip. The film marks the directing debut of Eastwood’s Malpaso Prods. partner Robert Lorenz. Script is by Randy Brown. Other movies currently slated for that date are Universal’s Savages, Fox’s Won’t Back Down and Sony’s Looper. Additionally Warner Bros has scheduled the IMAX doc To The Arctic 3D for April 20, 2012.
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Robert Lorenz, the longtime producing partner of Clint Eastwood at Malpaso Productions, who is making his feature directorial debut with Trouble With The Curve, the Warner Bros road trip movie that will star Eastwood and possibly Amy Adams. Eastwood plays a veteran baseball scout who heads off on a mission to scout a potential standout prospect. Lorenz was formerly repped by WME, but has been without an agent for awhile. Lorenz steps up to directing after being a producer and often second unit director on such Eastwood-directed films as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Grand Torino, Invictus and the recently release J. Edgar. He’s also producing A Star is Born, which has Beyonce attached to star and Eastwood to direct. Lorenz has twice been nominated for Best Picture Oscars on Mystic River and Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iowa Jima.