Claiming breach of contract and four other counts, MGM put the legal gloves on today with Jake LaMotta and the producers of Raging Bull 2. In a 7-page complaint filed today (read it here) against the 91-year old former boxer and RB II Productions, MGM wants the courts to order production on Raging Bull 2, which is currently filming in LA, stopped. Additionally, the studio wants to make sure the indie movie never sees the light of day. MGM also wants compensatory damages and punitive and exemplary damages and more “awarded in an amount sufficient to punish the RB II defendants and to deter those who would commit or knowingly seek to profit from similar actions, now or in the future.”
MGM alleges LaMotta had no right to allow RB II Productions the rights to his 1986 sequel book without first offering it to them. That comes from a 1976 agreement the boxer and co-author Peter Savage entered into with Chartoff-Winkler Productions. That agreement, which MGM is the successor-in-interest to, not only included his 1970 memoir but extended to any “owner-written sequel,” says the studio. MGM says that RB II has ignored the studio’s attempts to get them and LaMotta to comply with the 1976 agreement.
In its complaint today MGM also says that Raging Bull 2 producers are “publicly associating the Sequel Picture” with the original Raging Bull. MGM claims that this “is plainly intended to create confusion in the marketplace and to trade off the value” of the Martin Scorsese-directed 1980 Oscar-nominated film. The studio, which owns United Artists, the studio that put out the original, says this will “irreparably tarnish the value of the Picture and MGM’s rights therein.” Scorsese and Raging Bull star Robert DeNiro have nothing to do with Raging Bull 2. The sequel is written and directed by Martin Guigui. MGM has requested a three to five day jury trial. MGM are represented by Richard B. Kendall of L.A.’s Kendall Brill & Klieger.