We told you Monday that Lionsgate acquired Sundance Film Fest. winner Push. Well, according to The Weinstein Company, which was also bidding for the film, that’s not exactly what happened. In fact, TWC claims it has the right to the film, and they sued Lionsgate to get it back, but not before Lionsgate sued TWC because they feared they were about to be sued. Confused?
The Hollywood Reporter breaks it down: Lionsgate and the Weinstein Co. on Wednesday filed dueling lawsuits against each other over Sundance hit “Push,” throwing into question who owns distribution rights to the urban drama.
In its suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Lionsgate claims that TWC does not have “any right, title or interest” in the picture, which won both the grand jury and audience drama prizes in Park City, and is seeking a judge’s declaration to that effect.
Lionsgate filed the suit, it argues in the complaint, because of “threatened litigation” on the part of TWC over theatrical rights to Lee Daniels’ inner-city tale.
Several hours after word surfaced of the Lionsgate suit, Weinstein Co. reps said the company had filed its own suit against both Lionsgate and sales agent Cinetic Media for breach of contract and inducing breach of contract. TWC argues there was a contract in place for the New York company to buy the movie.
Lionsgate’s suit is here. But since TWC’s suit was filed in New York, it’ll take a little longer to get, and a judge will have to decide not only who has the rights to this movie, but also which court has jurisdiction over the issue.
Meanwhile, as THR’s Risky Biz Blog points out, these dueling lawsuits are forcing a court to rule on the “handshakes and back alleys” dealmaking on Sundance. It should be interesting to see whether a court views such unofficial dealings as a “contract.”
The TWC-Lionsgate tussle is also a battle of the superlawyers, with Bert Fields and David Boies repping the Weinsteins and Patty Glaser, who recently unsuccessfully repped her partner Terry Christensen in his wiretapping case, handling the issue for Lionsgate.