August 30, 2012 12:47pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Julie Taymor, 'Spider-Man' Producers Settle Dueling Lawsuits
Julie Taymor has settled her blockbuster lawsuit over her exit from Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the most expensive production in Broadway history.
The Oscar-nominated director sued in November, alleging that producers including Michael Cohl's 8 Legged Productions continued to make use of her creative contributions even after she left. After the lawsuit was filed, 8 Legged brought counterclaims that stated she failed to live up to her obligations on the high-profile show.
Attorneys for both sides informed a New York federal court that an agreement had been reached. On Thursday, the judge directed the clerk to discontinue the case without prejudice. Terms of the settlement aren't yet known.
Spider-Man premiered on Broadway for previews in November 2010. During early performances of the rock musical, which featured its music and lyrics to U2's Bono and The Edge, the show endured bad reviews and various stunt injuries.
Taymor was let go from her position of director due to artistic differences in March 2011. As the show premiered that June, Taymor and producers entered arbitration over $500,000 in royalties.
Then in November, Taymor filed a lawsuit. She demanded compensation that she said was due and claimed that as a co-owner of the book of the musical, she had a copyright claim to the show's underlying material. Taymor said that even though Spider-Man adapted its book by changing characters and revising some plot lines after she was let go, enough of her work still was present to show substantial similarity between her contributions and the present show, which has been a box-office success despite its early troubles.
If her claims were deemed valid, it would have given her interest in any licensed productions around the globe.
After Taymor filed a lawsuit, Taymor's union at The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society also brought a lawsuit. That litigation was settled in February, with 8 Legged agreeing to pay Taymor's full royalties and have a compensation plan in place for Taymor on subsequent productions of the show.
8 Legged also brought a nasty countersuit that alleged it took "superhuman efforts" to save the production from Taymor's refusal to take direction, which they said led to delays and big expenses.
The lawsuit got very heated and personal, with Taymor blaming Bono and The Edge for some of the troubles and saying the producers executed a secret plan to rewrite the book and reorder the show behind her back.
The parties have been in talks about hashing out a resolution for quite some time, but even amid settlement talks, both sides continued to lob voluminous court motions up until the very end.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is estimated to have cost $75 million to produce. The settlement avoids a trial that had been scheduled for January.
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