Warner Bros. Facing $900 Million Lawsuit Over ‘The Conjuring’ Franchise

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Warner Bros. can’t seem to catch a break with its franchises other than Harry Potter.   The Conjuring franchise has been litigated extensively, but the latest complaint includes a $900 million damages claim that is sure to spook producers.

Gerald Brittle says the horror movies infringe on his 1980 book,  The Demonologist, which tells the stories of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. In a massive 355-page amended complaint filed Wednesday in Virginia federal court, he’s upping the ante against Warner Bros., New Line Productions and director James Wan, among others.

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The author claims The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle infringe on his exclusive rights to create derivative works based on the Warrens’ cases. He says, in a 1978 agreement for his book, the couple agreed to a no “competing work” provision that is still in effect. Under it, Brittle says, the Warrens aren’t allowed to make or contract any works based on the “same subject” as The Demonologist, specifically their “lives and experiences as paranormal investigators.”

The author further claims New Line explicitly told The Conjuring screenwriters not to read his book because the studio didn’t have the rights to it. “Defendants have built a billion-dollar franchise based on rights they knew they did not possess,” Henry writes. “They ignored this ‘inconvenient’ fact and willfully proceeded anyway.”

 

Brittle is now seeking nearly a billion consisting of disgorgement of defendants’ profits and trebled damages from the alleged conspiracy — plus any profits from the stock premium that AT&T is paying Time Warner in their merger that is attributable to the franchise and an injunction to stop the release of Annabelle 2 and to prevent any other future films connected to the Warrens from being made.

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  Warner Bros.
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