Notorious B.I.G. warned us that things like this could happen, but Warner Bros apparently wasn’t paying attention when he told us that mo money could, in fact, lead to mo problems. With the “Conjuring” universe continuing to expand, it looks like Warner Bros could have potentially more to lose.
When author Gerald Brittle penned ‘The Demonologist’ for Ed and Lorraine Warren in 1980 it was done with the understanding that any movie deals utilizing events described in the book could not be agreed to without his involvement. A smart move considering that in 1977 “The Amityville Horror” (a case the Lorraines were involved with) had rocked the nation. Among the events described in the book the two most notable cases involve a creepy doll named Annabelle and the Enfield Poltergeist.
Flash forward to 2013 and Warner Bros, along with New Line, releases the hottest horror film of the year: “The Conjuring.” It’s a huge film and it’s release would go on to inspire another sequel and two spin-off films with two more possibly in the works. Everything seems grand and it would seem that everyone is getting nice and wealthy off of the films success, right?
Not quite. You see, somewhere along the line it appears that somebody forgot about Gerald Brittle’s deal and now, while the iron is hottest, the author is striking. Brittle is arguing that Warner Bros and New Line willfully ignored the fact that he was to be included in any movie deal discussions and that they have infringed on his copyright as they have taken works from his book. In particular the story of Annabelle and the Enfield Poltergeist.
Warner Bros attempted to have the case dismissed on the grounds that since the events in “The Conjuring” and “The Conjuring 2” are based on true events, they can’t be copyrighted. However, a judge in Virginia today dismissed this claim in a rather interesting manner. Here’s a snippet of his statement from THR:
The Court declines the parties’ invitation to wade into the truth or falsity of the Warrens’ paranormal escapades or to parse the resulting similarities between the works at this stage of the cases. This type of analysis, which bears on evidence presented and factual determinations, is better suited for summary judgment or trial.
As a result the case will now move to trial with a date set for April 16 and nearly a billion dollars on the line. Let that sink in. Nearly a billion dollars. This will be a particularly fun one to watch as part of Warner Bros defense might be to have to prove the validity of the Warren’s investigations. I, for one, can not wait to see how this plays out.