AMC Scores Victory in ‘Walking Dead’ Profits Case Against Robert Kirkman

Judge rules that AMC was correctly interpreting its contract with “Walking Dead” creator

The Walking Dead Danai Gurira

AMC scored a massive legal victory against Robert Kirkman in his lawsuit over “Walking Dead” profits that could hamper Frank Darabont’s similar legal fight against the network.

On Wednesday, a California judge ruled that AMC had been correctly compensating Kirkman and the show’s producers. The judge ruled in favor of AMC on all seven issues that Kirkman and his lawyers raised, including contract language around license fees and “Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts.” The ruling strikes a major blow in Kirkman’s case.

Kirkman, who created the comic book the series was based off of, along with “Walking Dead” producers Glen Mazzara, David Alpert, Charlie Eglee and Gale Anne Hurd, sued AMC in 2017 arguing they were cheated out of profits from the long-running drama, which enters its 11th season this fall.

“Today’s decision is a total victory for AMC,” AMC’s attorney Orin Snyder said. “The judge found in AMC’s favor on all seven issues that were presented at trial and confirmed that AMC honored its contracts and paid Mr. Kirkman and the other plaintiffs what they were owed. As the court found, these plaintiffs had the most sophisticated lawyers and agents in Hollywood and they got what they bargained for. We are now turning our attention to the trial in New York — which involves very similar claims by CAA and Frank Darabont — secure in the knowledge that the first court to hold a trial on these issues ruled completely in AMC’s favor.”

The ruling figures to greatly impact AMC’s other profit participation case in regards to “Walking Dead,” this one against CAA and Frank Darabont, who developed the series for AMC and was showrunner until being fired sometime during the second season. Darabont is suing AMC over many of the same issues and making many of the same claims that the judge just ruled on in favor of AMC.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, that trial, which will take place in New York, won’t start until next April at the earliest.

CAA and Darabont sued AMC in 2013 over profits from the hit TV show, after Darabont was fired during the show’s second season. They filed a second suit against AMC in 2018. The 2013 suit claims that Darabont was wrongfully fired from the series, and that he is entitled to proceeds from the show. Darabont says that AMC both produces and airs the series, and struck an agreement in which the network would be “selling” the show to itself, leading to “the improper and abusive practice of self-dealing.”