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It’s Ryan Kavanaugh vs. Harvey Weinstein in ‘The Crow’ legal dispute

by Danielle Berrin

May 13, 2011 | 12:35 pm

Relativity Media topper Ryan Kavanaugh, attorney Bert Fields and Weinstein Co. head Harvey Weinstein

Two of Hollywood’s titanic producers are taking it to the mattresses over rights to distribute a remake of “The Crow”, the 1994 comic-book action film that took actor Brandon Lee’s life. And true to form, Weinstein’s entertainment attorney extraordinaire, the indomitable Bert Fields is keeping things lively and exasperating.

But this new battle, it seems, is over old bad blood.

Things apparently soured between the two moguls after The Weinstein Co. and Relativity Media co-produced the musical “Nine” which performed shamefully, despite an all-star cast—Daniel Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman—lots of lush, sexy costumes and beautiful Italian scenery. It performed so poorly, in fact, it only recovered $20 million of its $115 million budget, according to TheWrap.com.

Fearing further losses, a disgruntled Kavanaugh decided he wanted out of another go with The Weinsteins. Only one problem: According to a lawsuit, some sort of contract was signed giving The Weinstein Co. rights to distribute the remake of “The Crow”. Kavanaugh explored his options. But at some point, it appears, Weinstein got wind (or “the impression” according to Fields) that Kavanaugh was quietly shopping “The Crow” around, eager to offload the distribution rights to a third party. To stop him, Weinstein called up Fields, a cantankerous tough guy, who has gotten the likes of Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and even The Beatles out of sticky spots. Fields filed a lawsuit demanding Relativity honor the original contract.

According to TheWrap.com, Relativity shot back: “This is yet another typical litigation stunt from the Weinsteins, who have a long history of threatening law suits with the sole purpose of intimidation.” They also singled out Fields, who, in good Jewish fashion, has a famous mouth. “While we expect these types of antics from the Weinsteins, we are shocked that a lawyer of Mr. Fields’ caliber would make such false, reckless and intentionally harmful statements to the press,” went a written statement.

Yesterday, Relativity filed a counter-suit, asking a Los Angeles Superior Court to prevent the Weinstein Co. from distributing “The Crow”. Because, basically, Relativity doesn’t think The Weinstein Co. can afford it. And their lawsuit cites the Weinsteins’ handling of “Nine” as support for their case. This of course, incensed Mr. Fields, who called the lawsuit “garbage”.

The lesson, ladies and gentlemen, is that in Hollywood, there are no second chances!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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