"Annabelle," the spin-off "The Conjuring," is scheduled to hit the screens across the U.S. this autumn, Oct. 03. The new film of "The Conjuring" series is one of the most anticipated films of this year, but the legal dispute over the rights on the film has taken some sheen away from the release date announcement.
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) reports that the release date announcement has "added fodder to the ongoing legal dispute that has thus far been fought at the Trademark Office, in arbitration and in three federal lawsuits."
According to THR, Evergreen Media Group of Tony DeRosa-Grund, a producer on "The Conjuring," received a check, with the amount $750,000 written on it, from New Line of Warner Bros. He received the check just before New Line announced that "Annabelle" will be released this autumn.
The amount on the check did not meet DeRosa-Grund's expectation. He has rejected the settlement amount, saying that the amount is short by more than one hundred thousand dollars. THR reports that the former producer sees himself as someone who should be part of "The Conjuring" sequels.
THR quoted a new complaint, which was recently filed in Texas court, as saying, "while the aforementioned check represents a large amount of money, in making said payment Defendants were the proverbial 'day late and dollar short'. In this case, five months late and potentially over one hundred thousand dollars short."
DeRosa-Grund, according to THR, "wants the federal judge to order the defendants to halt the Annabelle film." New Line allegedly licensed 25 Warren case files and DeRosa-Grund claims that the deal between him and New Line did not include Annabelle case file as well as the Enfield Poltergeist file. Another sequel of "The Conjuring" is being planned, which is apparently based on Enfield Poltergeist case file, according to THR.
THR reports that New Line originally took the stance that it will not pay as it has no intention to release "Annabelle" in theatres. It called the upcoming sequel "direct-to-video production," and thus was not part of the agreement.
In its defence, New Line says that both Annabelle and Enfield Poltergeist have been mentioned in the 1980 book, "The Demonologist," which is about Warrens. Calling the two case files as "historical facts," New Line claims that no copyright law has been broken, according to THR report.
The first film, made at a cost of $20, reportedly earned a whopping $318 million worldwide. The cast of "Annabelle" includes Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton and Alfre Woodard. John Leonetti, the cinematographer on the original movie, is donning the director's hat. Gary Dauberman has written the script of "Annabelle."
James Wan, director of "The Conjuring," and Peter Safran are producing "Annabelle."