A producer on the 1984 big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s Children Of The Corn novella claims in a lawsuit filed that the spinoff rights to the property are now his. But with others begging to differ, Donald P. Borchers is going after Disney and The Weinstein Company to get a judicial declaration so he can make a new movie.
“A dispute has arisen between and among Borchers and Defendants regarding the ownership of the rights to produce remakes, sequels and spin-offs of the Original Film,” says the August 23 complaint filed in California federal court, one filled with references to Star Wars, The Matrix, Suicide Squad, Creed, King Kong, and Transformers.
In a decades-long trail of rights and acquisitions and definitions of what kind of film a spinoff actually is, Borchers contends he has the right to make a Children Of The Corn spinoff because last month he said picked up rights to a related graphic novel that had come from rights assignee Park Avenue Entertainment.
Borchers was also the director of a 2009 TV movie adaptation of King’s 1977 short story for Syfy and Fox that he says “was aired… with no objection.” As it seemingly shakes down now, there are up to five entities that own a piece of Children Of The Corn. In addition to TWC and Disney, via Miramax, they apparently include King himself, Park Avenue and Fox, as the successor to New World, the distributors of the Reagan Era pic.
Neither Disney nor TWC responded to request for comment on the complaint.
In the 31-page filing by Borchers’ attorneys at LA’s Charnley Rian LLP, there seemed to be plenty to say about how these heavyweights were treating the Leprechaun 2 producer.
“Borchers has asked Defendants to admit that he is the owner of these rights to the Original Film, but they have either refused to do so or have disputed his claims, affirmatively asserting ‘adverse legal interests,’ ” the jury trial-seeking complaint asserts. “Judicial intervention is necessary to resolve this dispute so that Borchers’ rights are protected,” it goes on to add. “Therefore, Borchers seeks a judicial determination to resolve the issue of the ownership of the spin-off rights to the Original Picture.”
In putting this admittedly convoluted affair in front of a judge, Borchers throws in that he needs such a declaration so he can get Copyright registration for the script he has written and the production he hopes to helm.
And also so Disney, TWC and fellow defendants Miramax, Dimension Films and others don’t sue him for “potential infringement” – which they might.