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Warner Bros. has emerged victorious in a fight to the death over profits from the hit 1995 film Mortal Kombat. A Los Angeles judge has sided with the studio in its long-running battle with Lawrence Kasanoff, producer of the film based on the video game franchise.
Kasanoff, a co-founder and former executive at Lightstorm Entertainment, and his Threshold Entertainment sued Warners in 2008 claiming he was owed as much as $9.3 million in unpaid profit participations on the film, which grossed about $122 million at the worldwide boxoffice. But a December bench trial in front of Judge Ronald M. Sohigian resulted in an award to Kasanoff of only around $14,000 and a finding that Warners was the “prevailing party” and thus could be entitled to recover its costs associated with the case.
At a hearing earlier this week, the court found that the December ruling on the accounting issue rendered the rest of the case moot, so it was thrown out.
“We are very pleased that the court dismissed Threshold’s multi-million dollar claims,” Warner Bros. tells THR in a statement. “This victory fully vindicates Warner’s position that it accounted to Threshold fairly, appropriately and according to the parties’ contract.”
“Threshold will be appealing the ruling and the denial of a jury trial,” says Kasanoff attorney Howard Miller of Girardi and Keese.
This week’s ruling only covers an audit period of 2000-2004. Kasanoff filed a separate lawsuit over Kombat for the 2004-2008 period. That case is still pending but the first three years of the period were thrown out based on the statute of limitations. A third case filed by Kasanoff in bankruptcy court in 2009 targeted the sale of Midway Games to Warner Bros and its impact on his intellectual property rights in certain characters associated with the Kombat franchise. That case is still pending.
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