Saturday, June 22, 2024

“Spider Man” Lawsuit Could Mean No National Tour For Now


Julie Taymor’s lawsuit against the producers of “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” has some serious consequences not yet explored. It turns out her lawyers are asking for a permanent injunction against the production until Taymor is paid for her work. The amount named in the suit is $1 million. The permanent injunctions, if granted, could stop the producers, Michael Cohl and 8 Legged Productions, from starting any “Turn off the Dark” presentations in other cities. The show has cost so much–maybe up to $75 million–that the idea was to take on national tours to places like Las Vegas and who knows, maybe Branson, Missouri.

Anyway, the injunctions would finish all that for the time being.

Taymor’s lawsuit is based on the theory that she copyrighted her Original Book, and that the show now uses almost 75% of that material. (The New York Times got that wrong.) Indeed, anyone who’s seen “Spider Man” evolve over time knows that the show is still essentially Taymor’s, just in a different order. What’s more interesting, I think, is that after all the fighting, and changes, and the ouster, the box office average is the same or lower than when Taymor’s version was fully up and running. But to make the changes, the producers added at least $10 million to their bottom line.

Frankly, I’m surprised Bono and The Edge have allowed all this to go on. They’re both advocates for artists’ rights. And their astute manager, Paul McGuiness, has been forthright in making sure recording artists get paid for their work. Maybe they can intercede and end this ugliness.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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