In filings today, Edward R. Pressman Film Corp asked Judge Michael Wiles to take away Relativity’s rights to make sequels to the 1994 film The Crow. Among other things, the producer says that Relativity allowed Dana Brunetti to fire director Corin Hardy from the project in late January — even though Brunetti isn’t yet officially in charge of the studio’s film and TV operation.
Brunetti, a co-partner with Kevin Spacey at Trigger Street Productions, has agreed to take charge of Relativity’s productions once it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Wiles will hear Pressman’s case at a hearing on Friday. Relativity probably also will try to persuade the judge that it has fulfilled the terms he set for it to stand on its own.
Pressman told Relativity, in a February 25 letter, that it was “shocked” by the firing of Hardy. It “was not consulted on this decision, and learned of this development only as a result of being copied on a pre-existing email chain” between Hardy’s agent and Brunetti.
The decisions appeared to have been made “rashly, and more importantly, unilaterally on behalf of Relativity,” allegedly in violation of its agreement with Pressman. The firm says in its court filing that the agreement calls for “mutual approval over all creative decisions” for the project.
In addition, axing Hardy “undermined years of work expended by Pressman and has wasted valuable resources invested in the Picture,” the filing says.
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The timing is key: Hardy was fired “on or about January 27,” according to Pressman’s case. That was after the deadline for people to file objections to Relativity’s plan to exit Chapter 11 — and just five days before lawyers made their arguments in court before Judge Wiles.
He approved the plan, but with conditions that the studio has not yet fulfilled.
One of those conditions was that Relativity prove that it has a deal for both Spacey and Brunetti to run the studio. Relativity told the judge that it had an agreement for the duo to greenlight productions and that it would be a “game changer.”
But Spacey told the company on March 3 that he didn’t have “the time nor the wherewithal to take on” the work. A Relativity financial adviser told the court this week that its exit plan “was not contingent on Mr. Spacey’s personal involvement in the business going forward.”
The three-year proposed contract with Brunetti filed at court this week provides for projects to be jointly greenlighted by him and Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.
Relativity just switched firms that handle its corporate communications, and it did not have a comment about the Passman allegations.
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