MGM is suing former prize-fighter Jake LaMotta over “Raging Bull II,” a sequel to the acclaimed film about his life currently in production, and is seeking to shut down filming.
The studio, which owns the rights to the Oscar-nominated 1980 film starring Robert De Niro, filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court on July 3 claiming that LaMotta and production company RB II Production were in breach of their rights to make the sequel.
The movie starring William Forsythe as LaMotta began production in June, and also stars Joe Mantegna and Paul Sorvino.
According to the complaint, MGM ”requests that the Court rescind the agreement(s) by which LaMotta has granted the RBII Defendants rights in the Sequel Book and enjoin the RBII Defendants from further producing, distributing, marketing, promotion, advertising, or otherwise exploiting the Sequel Picture.”
The critically acclaimed 1980 film, released by United Artists, is based on the boxing champion LaMotta's career. The sequel is based on his follow-up book.
According to the lawsuit, MGM holds the rights to the sequel under a 1976 agreement with LaMotta and Peter Savage. At the time, production company Chartoff-Wìnkler bought the exclusive motion picture rights in perpetuity to the book “Raging Bull,” which also covered any sequels.
In 1986 LaMotta wrote a sequel to the book, which MGM claims is covered under the Chartoff-Winkler agreement, to which it now hold the rights.
The lawsuit asks that production be halted on “Raging Bull II” and seeks an unspecified amount of punitive damages.
The original "Raging Bull," directed by Martin Scorsese, won an Oscar for De Niro and is widely regarded as one of the best motion pictures ever made.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.