Entertainment

Warner Bros. is taking Village Roadshow fights to arbitration

Warner Bros. won a significant victory in its legal battle with longtime financing partner Village Roadshow on Friday when a judge agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration.

Village Roadshow has worked with the studio on numerous blockbusters over the past 25 years, including Joker, the Ocean’s series and American Sniper. But the relationship fell through when Warner Bros. decided to release The Matrix: Resurrections simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, along with the rest of its 2021 roster.

Village Roadshow sued in February, alleging that Warner Bros. sabotaged the film’s box office to boost the streaming service. Village Roadshow has also claimed that Warner Bros. is moving forward with projects — including Wonka, a television series based on Edge of Tomorrow, and a sequel to I Am Legend starring Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan — without attending the Village Roadshow contrary to their agreement. The company sought an injunction that would force Warner Bros. to honor the agreement.

In his ruling Friday, Judge David S. Cunningham ruled that the issues in the lawsuit would be settled by the contract’s arbitration clause. He also denied Village Roadshow’s request for a restraining order.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Village Roadshow said it will continue to fight in arbitration and expects to win substantial damages.

“This is a case that is important not only to Village Roadshow, but to all content owners who are being abused by the studios’ proprietary trading practices,” the company said. “The Company will demonstrate that it is entitled to any required remedies, including substantial damages, for WB’s willful and continued breaches of the parties’ agreements.”

The statement also said that Village Roadshow looks forward to uncovering more information in the discovery, alleging that Warner Bros. “has worked hard in the press to cover up their misconduct and increase their perception with industry stakeholders.” influence”.

Warner Bros. has denied breaching the agreements. The studio argued that an injunction was not necessary, and asserted that Village Roadshow was in no imminent danger of harm.

Village Roadshow’s attorneys have raised concerns they were not notified of Warner Bros. projects in development based on their co-financed films. These include an Ocean’s sequel starring Margot Robbie and a Sherlock Holmes TV series for HBO Max, both of which received news outlet coverage.

However, in a court filing, a Warner Bros. executive denied there was a cast or budget for the “Ocean’s” film. The studio said it’s working with producers to develop the I Am Legend sequel, but there’s no script, budget, director, cast and green light yet — and therefore no commitment to Village Roadshow notify. The studio also denied that it is actively developing other properties, to the point where Village Roadshow would need to be notified.

The studio has also said it currently has no plans to do more day-and-date releases in theaters and on HBO Max.

https://variety.com/2022/film/news/warner-bros-village-roadshow-matrix-arbitration-1235280364/ Warner Bros. is taking Village Roadshow fights to arbitration

Charles Jones

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