Warner Bros. has reportedly just been hit with a massive lawsuit. The $900 million suit revolves around Warner Bros’ Conjuring franchise that also includes Annabelle, Annabelle 2, and the upcoming spin-off The Nun.
Back in the 1970’s, a writer by the name of Gerald Brittle published a book titled ‘The Demonologist’, the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Brittle is now claiming that the he and the Warrens struck an agreement in 1978 that had a “no competing work” clause, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ed and Lorraine Warren
The lawsuit alleges that Warner Bros. created the franchise with Lorraine Warren, though Brittle’s deal meant that Warner Bros. should have sought his permission. The studio has responded that they have the right to use the stories under “fair use” because they are seen as historical facts, but Brittle says that the stories are actually works of fiction. The Hollywood Reporter has said that Brittle has charged that the studio is guilty of copyright infringement, common law trespass, interfering with a contract, and statutory business conspiracy.
Mr. Brittle’s attorney Patrick C. Henry II made the following statement:
[W]hen Lorraine Warren granted the Defendants the right to use the Warren Case Files, which the Defendants themselves repeatedly state their movies are based on, she could not have done so because she had years earlier contractually granted that exclusive right to use those same Warren cases, Warren Case Files and related materials to the Plaintiff. Lorraine Warren had nothing to convey.”
It is very hard to believe that a large conglomerate such as Warner Brothers, with their army of lawyers and who specializes in intellectual property rights deals, would not have found The Demonologist book or the deals related to it, or Brittle for that matter… [The] only logical conclusion… is that defendants knew about the deals and ignored them thinking ‘they would never get caught.’”
Lorraine and Ed Warrens claims of what happened in their Perron Farmhouse Case File, which the Defendants freely and publicly admit their TheConjuring movie was based on, does not at all jive with the real historical facts. This is a pattern of deceit that is part of a scheme that the Warrens have perpetuated for years … There are no historical facts of a witch ever existing at the Perron farmhouse, a witch hanging herself, possession, Satanic worship or child sacrifice.”
Brittle’s argument that the studio knew about the deal is backed up by a 2011 tweet from director-producer James Wan where he praises Brittle’s book and states that that the book is scary.
$900 Million is a lot of money, even for Warner Bros. As the lawsuit travels through the court system, more facts will come to light. The big question is, how will the lawsuit affect future sequels and spin-offs. The Nun has just entered production. Hopefully, it won’t be put on hold. We will keep you posted.