Unlike the Man of Steel, Warner Bros has to dodge bullets! In a lawsuit filed by the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerome Siegel, the court ruled in favor of Warner Bros and DC Comics. Though this a victory for Warner today, what does this mean for the future, of arguably the most beloved comic book character?
In a report from Variety, we get all the juicy details:
In a decision announced Wednesday, U.S. Judge District Court Judge Stephen G. Larson found that the license fees the studio paid to corporate sibling DC Comics didn't represent "sweetheart" deals as they weren't below fair market value. That means the heirs will be able seek profits only from DC Comics -- which earned $13.6 million from Warner Bros. for the 2006 release of "Superman Returns" -- rather than from Warner Bros. as well.
So DC, watch your backs. Because they're coming for you. But that $13.6 million will look like chump change in a few years! Why? Marc Toberoff, the attorney representing Siegel's heirs, gives the bottom line on where the Superman property will stand in a few years. And this is HUGE!
...the entire accounting action pales in comparison to the fact that in 2013, the Siegels, along with the estate of Joe Shuster, will own the entire original copyright to Superman, and neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros. will be able to exploit any new Superman works without a license from the Siegels and Shusters.
Face! Can you imagine Superman without DC? That's like taking chocolate away from milk. So what can DC and Warner do in the meantime? Toberoff adds:
The Court pointedly ruled that if Warner Bros. does not start production on another Superman film by 2011, the Siegels will be able to sue to recover their damages. The Siegels look forward to the remainder of the case, which will determine how much defendants owe them for their exploitations of Superman.
Ouch. Warner Bros, get cracking! Because Superman could fly away, and he may not return this time. So unless there's some progress made on a new Superman flick, it could be years, maybe decades before anything with the Superman name gets made. Because I assume, this will only get messier! The last thing we want to see, is Superman in a legal "Phantom Zone!"
Click the picture below if you want a closer look into the legal jargon.