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‘Spider-Man’ producers, Taymor’s union reach deal
NEW YORK (AP) - Producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” have agreed to pay the hit Broadway musical’s former director and co-book writer Julie Taymor royalties as part of a settlement that ends one chapter in the two sides’ bitter legal dispute.
Under the deal, producers have agreed to pay Taymor full royalties as director from the beginning of previews in November 2010 through the run of the Broadway show, however long that is. She was fired in March after years of delays, accidents, critical backlash and ballooning costs that all pushed the show’s price tag to a record-setting $75 million.
The settlement does not end a federal copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Taymor against the producers over her role as co-writer of the musical and a countersuit filed by them against Taymor and her company, LOH Inc.
“The litigation between us is over, and we are hopeful that any remaining issues between the producer and Ms. Taymor regarding her role as author can also be resolved to the satisfaction of all,” Karen Azenberg, president of the SDC, said in a statement.
In that still-ongoing legal dispute, Taymor is seeking half of all profits derived from the sale or license of any rights in the original “Spider-Man” book. It also seeks a jury trial to determine her share of profits from the unauthorized use of her version of the superhero story, which the lawsuit said was believed to be in excess of $1 million.
The producers, for their part, claim she “caused numerous delays, drove up costs, and failed to direct a musical about Spider-Man that could open on Broadway.” Her version of the superhero story, they assert, bears little resemblance to the show that is currently playing at the Foxwoods Theatre.
In the settlement announced Thursday, both sides pulled back from litigation. Producers withdrew claims Taymor had breached her contract as director and agreed to no longer challenge the union’s jurisdiction on antitrust grounds in the case.
The producers also agreed to pay Taymor an unspecified amount of money if the show’s New York production recoups its investment, and the two sides agreed to a compensation package for Taymor if any subsequent productions of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” are staged.
Charles Spada, an attorney for Taymor, had no comment on the settlement.
After Taymor left the show, Philip William McKinley, who directed the Hugh Jackman musical “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, was hired to take over. He was billed as creative consultant when the musical opened. Only Taymor will be considered eligible for the show’s Tony Award for the best direction of a musical category.
The stunt-heavy show has been doing brisk business ever since it opened its doors and most weeks easily grosses more than the $1.2 million its producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable. Over the Christmas holiday, the show earned the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history.
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