Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The 'Hercules'/Kevin Sorbo Lawsuit With Universal Is Over

Eonline has broke news today that Kevin Sorbo's lawsuit against Universal for profits regarding Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was thrown out by a Los Angeles Court. Here is an excerpt of the news:

"Kevin Sorbo won't be getting that Herculean payday anytime soon. Part of the actor's lawsuit against Universal Studios, in which he claimed he was entitled to 8 percent of the grosses from the syndicated television show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, or, about $5 million, has been dismissed. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Hess granted Universal's motion to have the case thrown out Thursday after ruling that there were insufficient facts to support Sorbo's claim of fraud. In court documents, Sorbo accused the studio of cooking the books to cheat him out of his rightful paycheck for starring in what his camp referred to as the most-watched TV show in the world. Universal, meanwhile, argued that the actor was just after $5 million in punitive damages and had no cause of action for a fraud case. "

The article also goes onto mention that Kevin Sorbo wanted to leave the show half way through the series because of the extensive work schedule. Although Sorbo has his 'beef' with Universal over Hercules, lets not assume that Sorbo never wants anything to do with the character or the show. Sorbo has gone out and done commentaries and special features for the Hercules DVD sets. Now lets not forget, Kevin Sorbo wasn't the only one from the Raimi/Tapert camp suing Universal over Profits. When Sorbo filed the initial lawsuit 3 years ago, Lucy Lawless was also was also suing Universal over the profits she was allegedly owed for her work on Xena: Warrior Princess. Eonline is reporting that Lawless "has since reached a settlement with the studio."

The reason why all these lawsuits are so interesting is because they might determine the fate of a Xena movie. A Hercules movie was unlikely before the lawsuit and now, after the lawsuit, will clearly never be made. Now that all of the legal issues have pretty much been resolved, and since Lucy Lawless has come to an agreement with Universal, developments into a Xena movie might rise as long as Universal is backing the production of the movie. A few years ago it was reported that Rob Tapert was trying to make a Xena movie himself but was struggling to get the rights from Universal. Time will tell whether we see a Xena movie get made in the near future. Since the box-office success of female lead super-heroes has been in question as of late (the poor success of Catwoman and Elektra vs. the great success of Underworld for example), Universal will most likely be looking at how successful Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman will be before it greenlights a movie starring the Warrior Princess, thats if indeed Universal still owns the rights to the character. Either way, I hope a Xena movie gets made because we might see Bruce Campbell pop up in it as an elderly Autolycus.

You can read the full article here.

17 Comments:

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pssst - reread the Sorbo article. The suit is still active - it's in no way over. They just dropped the fraud part. He's still suing for breach of contract, for the full 5 million. Even if he loses, he can still appeal, on both charges. It doesn't even mean that they didn't *commit* fraud - it just means that the judge fels his lawyers haven't shown enough proof that they did.

The chances for a Herc movie are unchanged - no one was trying to make one before, and no one is trying to make one now.

Ditto for a Xena movie - Lucy's lawsuit in no way was related to a possible Xena movie. Rogue (the sub-sub-division of NBC-Universal that controls the property now) even gave Rob permission to do a Xena movie a year and a half ago - they just didn't commit enough $$ for him to do anything beyond a low-budget, direct-to-dvd film.

 
At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouls rather a lower budget direct to DVD film with the original cast then nothing at all or a bigger budget film with a new cast years down the road. I personally will have no interest in a film that does not star Lucy Lawless AND Renee O'Connor.

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lawsuit with Universal has no bearing on the Xena movie. The rights issues was resolved in late 2004. In 2005, there were plans to go ahead with the movie, but Universal (as someone pointed out) didn't offer Tapert enough for the budget.

They haggled for several months over the budget before Universal finally dropped the movie, but gave Tapert the option of shopping it around to substudios of Universal.

There's never been word if Focus Features (not their cup of tea when it comes to the XWP movie) was given the pitch, but Rogue was interested enough for Rob to have a message sent out via Katherine Fugate (the rumored writer of the film) to have the fans email the heads of Rogue films to show them interest.

While a letter writing campaign seemed to have some impact, it still boils down to not getting enough money to do the film.

No doubt "Serenity's" lack of success is played an impact of Universal's decision to be skiddish of anything doing with a TV show to feature film flick.

It's not just the inability of actresses to open films, but it's also the genre and the fact that the period has struggled unless it's got Brad Pitt in it.

 
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