Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ producers, Taymor settle sticky suit
NEW YORK, Aug 31 — A bitter legal dispute between the producers of Broadway’s version of “Spider-Man” and the musical’s ousted director, Julie Taymor, has been resolved, a court filing showed yesterday.
“The parties in this action have reached an agreement in principle,” said US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan in a three paragraph order that gave no additional details.
The order said the parties have 60 days to come back to court to reopen the litigation before the order becomes final.
While it has packed the theatre, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” made a disastrous start on Broadway in 2010, with injuries to actors, opening night delays and the eventual firing of Taymor, the Tony-winning director of “The Lion King”.
The stunt-heavy musical, which is based on Marvel Comics’ most famous character and cost more than US$70 million (RM218 million) to bring to the stage with music by Bono and The Edge, was reworked after Taymor left the production in March last year.
In November, Taymor filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the “Spider-Man” producers.
Taymor said that she had worked on the musical’s original book — the non-sung words — before she left the show and that the producers continued to make “unauthorised and unlawful use” of her written works after she left.
She said she was entitled to at least US$1 million in damages.
In turn, producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris fired back in January with their own lawsuit against Taymor, accusing her of “developing a dark, disjointed and hallucinogenic musical involving suicide, sex and death”.
Charles Spada, an attorney for Taymor, did not immediately return a call seeking comment yesterday’s order by the judge.
Dale Cendali, an attorney for the producers, declined comment.
“Spider-man” has grossed over US$55 million in ticket sales so far this year, and it made a record-setting US$2.9 million from Christmas to New Year’s Day last year, according to figures from industry website The Broadway League.
The elaborate production received poor reviews when it was previewed under Taymor’s direction in late 2010, and the production suffered cast member injuries in its first weeks.
When it officially opened in June last year, after Taymor’s ouster, critics only warmed slightly to the new show. But audiences, who were drawn in part by the show’s sensational publicity, turned out in large numbers to make it a hit. — Reuters