Frank Darabont Accuses AMC of Reanimating Arguments in 'Walking Dead' Profits Fight

Like the zombies in the hit series, Darabont says, AMC's lawyers are trying to bring old arguments back from the dead.
Gene Page/AMC

Frank Darabont is asking a New York judge to reject AMC's efforts to relitigate issues that have already been decided in their dispute over his profits from The Walking Dead.

In December, AMC fled a motion for summary judgment in a second dispute that sprang up after Darabont's team audited AMC's accounting records. 

Darabont's team on Monday ripped the motion, describing it as "a brazen attempt to relitigate issues already laid to rest" by since-retired justice Eileen Bransten, who in December 2018 largely denied dueling motions for summary judgment in the original fight. 

"AMC contends it is entitled to summary judgement because Darabont agreed 'to be bound by AMC's MAGR definition even though it had not yet been provided to him'...and that AMC was not obligated to negotiate the terms of the MAGR definition in good faith," writes Jerry D. Bernstein in the filing.

Darabont argues the 2010 amendment to their agreement expressly requires good faith negotiations, but AMC says he failed to meet a precondition that demanded he serve as showrunner on every episode in Season 2 — and Darabont says Bransten has already rejected that argument.

AMC also told the judge Darabont's breach of implied covenant claims are duplicative of his breach of contract claims. Darabont disagrees. He argues, for example, that AMC assigns all product integration revenue from the series to AMC Network and all marketing expenses to AMC Studios to the detriment of profit participants. "Even if the jury were to conclude that there is no express contractual restriction on AMC's ability to allocate revenue and expenses in this manner, such arbitrary, irrational conduct is emblematic of what is forbidden by the implied covenant," writes Bernstein. (Read the full filing below.)

Meanwhile, the spinoff fight over Walking Dead profits, the one involving comic book creator Robert Kirkman and other stakeholders, is set for a bench trial next week. This first so-called mini-trial will analyze key contractual provisions and streamline the dispute moving forward.