The new Conan the Barbarian movie that saw release last week thought it had seen hard times. Its opening weekend tanked at a dismal $10 million when estimates are that the film cost around $70 million to make. That alone isn't great ... but now they're facing a lawsuit from Stan Lee!
Well, it's actually Stan Lee Media Inc. that's filing the lawsuit.
Let's have a quick history lesson here. Back in 2001, SLMI declared bankruptcy. In 2002, the rights to Conan as a property reverted to Conan Sales Co. Conan Sales Co. then sold those rights to Swedish company Paradox Entertainment, which has spent the last decade licensing videogames, comics and action figures.
During this entire time, SLMI hasn't said a word about any use of the Conan character—but now that there's a movie, it's a whole different ball game. SLMI says it is filing its suit because "the shares of Conan Properties and all other assets of SLMI were part of a bankruptcy estate and protected from unauthorized transfer by the automatic bankruptcy stay," which is a litigious way of saying that the rights could not be transferred while SLMI was bankrupt. There was, apparently, A Settlement Approval Order that allowed the transfer of assets, but that, too, is in dispute.
We say that SLMI is filing its suit because, now that there's a movie, however unsuccessful, there's the smell of money on old Conan once again. Let's be honest, it seems like a pretty sleazy move, but it might be legit. At the moment, it's very much a wait-and-see situation, but it looks like Paradox may have to fork over all proceeds from the Conan film.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)