Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spider-Man musical settles, avoiding the sticky web of trial

Producers of the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and its former director, Julie Taymor, settled a lawsuit over copyright claims, artistic credit and profits for the most expensive show ever on Broadway. Taymor originally filed suit on copyright grounds after being fired, claiming producers made money from her ideas and script and owed her more than $1 million. The producers countersued, saying they fired her for breach of contract. U2's Bono and the Edge, and Marvel Entertainment (licensor for the Spider-Man brand), were also involved. Taymor had approval of future tours and versions of scripts that ended with the deal, freeing future transformation of the show for venues like Las Vegas. Despite confidentiality, reported sources with knowledge of the settlement said the terms included reductions in royalties due to the high operating cost, with financial concessions improving the show’s prospects for a continuing run and to recoup the $75M production. Spider-Man has become one of the top-grossing musicals on Broadway, as well as a fan favorite-- despite negative reviews. Trial was set to begin next month in Manhattan federal court. A highly publicized trial would serve no one’s interests, according to several associates of Taymor and the producers. Tours and new productions are planned and trial apparently threatened to complicate those efforts. The fate of a documentary about the creation of the musical remains unclear. See news item here-