11:32am PT by Eriq Gardner
'The Crow' Producer Seeks to Cancel Relativity's Sequel Rights
Dana Brunetti is set to run a reorganized Relativity Media, but his decision-making is already being challenged.
On Wednesday, Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation, the producer of the 1994 film The Crow, lodged papers in bankruptcy court intended to deny Relativity rights to sequels, prequels and remakes.
In 2009, Pressman made a deal with Relativity that gave the Ryan Kavanaugh studio an option to three Crow films. The option was exercised in 2014, which according to court papers, gave Relativity three years to begin principal photography lest rights revert back to Pressman.
Last August, preproduction of the Crow sequel began, and Corin Hardy (The Hallow) came to a $150,000 "holding deal" to direct the film. According to Pressman, it proposed Hardy, and Relativity agreed to Hardy.
"[Hardy] is known for his visual flair, having a penchant for horror and dark subject matter," states Pressman. "The parties believed that Mr. Hardy was particularly suited to reinvigorate The Crow, which is based on a dark tale of revenge told originally in graphic novel form."
Hardy was much in-demand, says Pressman, adding that his attachment led other motion picture studios to attempt to acquire Relativity's Crow rights during the bankruptcy process.
"Notwithstanding the importance of Mr. Hardy as reflected by [Relativity] management’s securing and extending his services through the 'holding deal,' and notwithstanding the confidence in him shown by other studios, on or about January 27, 2016 — five days before the start of the confirmation hearings in the Relativity bankruptcy case — Mr. Dana Brunetti, purporting to act for or on behalf of RMLLC, summarily removed Mr. Hardy as director of the Picture."
Pressman asserts this was done prior to Brunetti meeting Hardy or actually becoming head of production at Relativity. The producer is objecting to the fact that it wasn't consulted, allegedly in violation of its contract with Relativity.
"The action purported to have been taken by [Relativity] on Mr. Brunetti’s initiative with respect to Mr. Hardy has undermined years of work expended by Pressman and has wasted valuable resources invested in the Picture," continues the legal papers.
Pressman previously objected to Relativity's assumption of the Crow contract because of an alleged lack of adequate assurance Relativity could perform. The company says that contract was not identified in the reorganization plan to be assumed or rejected. Nevertheless, Pressman, represented by attorneys at Pryor Cashman, now alleges there's been a "material post-petition breach of the agreement, and that such non-monetary breach has not and cannot be cured."
"With Dana coming aboard, we are giving him full creative rein," a Relativity spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We want him to be able to reboot The Crow under his vision and guidance. We are optimistic he will create the best package for such an iconic franchise."