Here’s a shock. “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” is now at $70 million, maybe more. And Julie Taymor, who created the show from her vision, and worked for nine years on it, has only been paid roughly $150,000. That seems a little ridiculous. Taymor is now seeking $300,000 in back royalties from the show’s production company. The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society has filed for arbitration on her behalf. “Spider Man” opens officially next Tuesday, June 14th.
I’m kinda shocked. With that big budget, you’d think Taymor would have been getting at least a million dollars. All that money couldn’t have been spent on pulleys and bungie cord.
Playbill.com picks up the story: Laura Penn, executive director of SDC, said in a statement, “Taymor has given nine years of her life to this project. The Producer has absolutely no right, legally and ethically, to withhold royalties that are due to her. In fact, the right to use her work, on Broadway or anywhere else, is dependent upon the payment of royalties.”
The producers have, according to a press statement, “failed to pay to Ms. Taymor any royalties for the run of the production in violation of both the SDC collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and her individual contract. SDC is asking for an accounting from the Producer to determine the precise amount of royalties due to Ms. Taymor, payment of all royalties due to Ms. Taymor, and continued payment of royalties and all other compensation due now and in the future.”
In exchange for royalties, directors and choreographers license their creative work to producers. SDC states that the producers of Spider-Man do not have the rights to use Taymor’s direction unless she is receiving royalties.
According to Karen Azenberg, SDC president, “Royalties are the foundation of the compensation structure for directors and choreographers on Broadway. SDC exists to protect and enforce the rights of our Members to be paid for their work and for ongoing use of their property.”