Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Yee-Haw! "Dukes" Back on Track -

With a lawsuit against Warner Bros. threatening the impending release of The Dukes of Hazzard, the studio elected to pony up a serious sum of money to ensure the hard-driving picture would arrive in theaters as scheduled. At issue was Georgia-based producer Robert B. Clark's claim that Warners had infringed upon the copyright to his obscure 1975 United Artists film Moonrunners, upon which the television edition of The Dukes of Hazzard was based. In his lawsuit, Clark argued that Warner Bros. had purchased the TV rights to his script, but had neglected to put up the dough for the movie rights.

After U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess awarded Clark a preliminary injunction in the matter, Warner Bros. agreed to pay the producer a settlement of at least $17.5 million--more than the studio spent on the combined salaries of Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Burt Reynolds and the film's supporting talent, per Daily Variety.

However, had no settlement been reached, Hazzard's Aug. 5 release would have been canceled by the injunction and all copies of the movie would have been impounded by federal marshals. Furthermore, the film's DVD release would have been pushed off indefinitely, and the $40 million the studio spent on theatrical marketing would have gone largely to waste. Rather than garaging the General Lee to fight the injunction, Warner Bros. eventually caved last week and agreed to hand over a large chunk of change to Clark.

Where was I when this movie went "off track"? Maybe I blocked it out after watching the MTV awards and discovering the movies wouldn't be out until August. I'm tired of this shyt already, pay the guy the money, get the movie out and let's see how it does at the crappy box office.

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