The long-delayed Weinstein Company film "Escape From Planet Earth" will finally hit the screen. Although you won't be able to see it.
The animated film, which sparked a $50 million lawsuit from the films' former writer/director Tony Leech and producer Brian Inerfeld more than a year ago, will be privately screened for the pair, as part of ongoing settlement discussions over the suit.
The order granting the private screening, signed by Judge Paul G. Feinman of New York Supreme Court. adds that "Escape From Planet Earth" constitutes "Confidential Information," meaning that Inerfeld and Leech are barred from revealing information about the film to unauthorized persons.
In their suit, Inerfeld and Leech claim that the Weinstein Co. botched the film by overspending on production, giving contradictory script notes and paying actors such as Kevin Bacon thousands of dollars to lend his voice to the film. They also said that they pleaded with the studio to shut down production on the film, but were rebuffed by studio head Harvey Weinstein.
The suit also alleges that they were offered $500,000 in hush money so that the story wouldn't come out before last year's Academy Awards.
Inerfeld and Leech had previously worked with the Weinstein Co. on the profitable animated film "Hoodwinked."
The Weinstein Co.'s attorney, Bert Fields, blasted the pair's claims last year and threatened to countersue Inerfeld and Leech.
Calling the complaint "completely frivolous," Fields told TheWrap in a statement that "the pleading contains little more than false, gratuitous, slanderous, preposterous and totally irrelevant personal attacks on TWC and its principals. Plaintiffs were let go after they refused to make the picture which TWC wanted. They were paid in excess of $2,000,000 which is what was called for by their contract. They then threatened to 'go public' with false assertions about TWC's principals unless they were paid money to which they were not entitled. Their conduct has been unethical and reprehensible."
"Escape From Planet Earth" follows the adventures of astronaut Scorch Supernova, who finds himself trapped when he responds to an SOS from a dangerous alien planet. According to IMDB, the film, which is voiced by Jessica Alba, Brendan Fraser and Sarah Jessica Parker, among others, is scheduled for a Valentine's Day 2013 release date.
That is, if the Weinstein Co. can kiss and make up with Leech and Inerfeld in the meantime.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.