The producers of the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” settled a lawsuit brought by the show’s fired director, Julie Taymor, two weeks after a judge set a May trial date, a lawyer for Taymor said.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in New York, who is presiding over the case, on Jan. 10 restored the case to her active court calendar, saying that while both sides told her in August they had agreed to a tentative settlement over royalties and creative control, they hadn’t completed it. Forrest also scheduled a May 27 trial date.
“The parties have now reached an agreement on terms to settle the above litigation and have a fully drafted settlement agreement that the parties are ready to execute,” Charles Spada, a lawyer for Taymor, wrote to Forrest in a Jan. 22 letter made public yesterday. “We anticipate notifying the court within the next week that a final settlement agreement has been executed and that the litigation can be dismissed.”
Spada didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message left at his office seeking comment on the settlement. Dale Cendali, a lawyer for the show’s producers, 8 Legged Productions, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Taymor was removed from the $75 million show in March 2011, after critics lambasted it during an extended 182-performance preview period. She sued the producers in November 2011, saying they violated her intellectual-property rights by making changes without her permission and didn’t pay royalties due her as a co-book writer.
In 2003, producers began negotiating with Marvel Entertainment, a unit of The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) that owns the rights to the character, about staging “Spider-Man” on Broadway, according to Taymor’s suit.
The original producing team asked Bono and The Edge of the band U2 to write a score and Taymor to direct. In 2004, she wrote a three-page treatment for the show and the following year she registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office, according to her suit.
In her complaint, Taymor said that as the musical’s co- author she was owed guaranteed minimum royalties of $2,917.50 a week. The producers agreed in February to pay her director’s royalties as part of a settlement with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
In his letter to the court, Spada said the settlement had been conditional upon 8 Legged Productions and non-party Marvel Entertainment entering into a separate agreement to amend 8 Legged’s license to produce the Spider-Man musical.
“It now appears that 8-Legged and Marvel will be executing a formal amendment to their licensing agreement within days,” he wrote.
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