(Updated, 9:40 a.m.)
The battle to release "The Crow" is getting more intense, with attorneys for Relativity filing a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday to compel arbitration in a rights dispute with The Weinstein Company.
The Weinstein Company has alleged that Relativity has reneged on a deal to allow it to distribute the dark superhero film, but Ryan Kavanaugh's studio is hitting back and claiming that the studio lacks the $70 million necessary to release the film.
It wants the court to rescind the Weinstein Company's right of first refusal to release "The Crow," because of its mishandling of "Nine," a previous co-production with Relativity.
Because the film performed so poorly, Relativity is asking for $20 million in damages, charging the Weinstein Company with fraudulent conduct and multiple breaches of duty.
Bert Fields, an attorney for the Weinstein Company, said Relativity was trying to complicate the issue by diverting attention away from the dispute over "The Crow."
"The allegations of the motion are absolute garbage," Fields told TheWrap. "This claim was about a totally different picture. It should have been made at the time of 'Nine,' not now because they broke the contract on 'The Crow.' It's total hogwash, and I cant wait to get Mr. Kavanaugh on the witness stand."
"Nine" was developed by the Weinsteins and funded partly by Relativity grossed a mere $20 million on a $115 million budget.
"Not only did TWC botch the Nine release and distribution, TWC has refused to pay Relativity the money owed to it under the agreements between the parties. TWC also has refused Relativity's demand to audit the books and records relating to the Nine distribution, or to provide Relativity the information needed to determine exactly how much money TWC still owes Relativity," the motion reads.
Among other issues, the suit claims that production headaches on "Nine" caused the film to miss its original Thanksgiving release date, resulting in the Weinstein Company releasing it in December 2009 against another Relativity film, "It's Complicated."
Further, Relativity claims that the Weinstein Company misrepresented its financial ability to produce and market the critically drubbed musical.
With respect to the dispute over "The Crow," Relativity is asking the court to move the issue to a private arbitrator at the JAMS dispute resolution company.
Thomas Weiss, an attorney for Relativity, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In addition to asking a judge to keep Relativity from letting anyone else distribute "The Crow," the Weinstein Company's original lawsuit asks for attorneys' fees.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is directing the remake of 1994's "The Crow." The original movie grossed $50.7 million — an impressive sum for its day. The film was marred, however, by the accidental shooting death of Brandon Lee during the filming of the movie.
Relativity's version of the film is being produced by Edward R. Pressman, Jeff Most, Relativity’s Kavanaugh, and Apache Entertainment's Enrique López Lavigne and Belén Atienza. Relativity’s Tooley ("The Fighter") will serve as executive producer.
Filming is scheduled to begin in the fall.
More to come…