AMC has a whole lot of Walking Dead on their roster. There’s The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Walking Dead: World Beyond and The Dead, They Are Walking (okay, I made the last one up).
All these shows have made AMC a ton of money. The entire franchise, however, rests on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman. And Kirkman, along with fellow executive producers Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara, and David Alpert, have sued AMC alleging that the company shortchanged them their share of the profits.
While AMC recently awarded former The Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont and his agency $200 million for his share of the profits, Kirkman and the other executives are still fighting a legal battle to get what they think they’re owed. While their case has faced setbacks, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Buckley just gave them a chance to continue their legal pursuit for damages.
Making Money In Hollywood Is Complicated
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Buckley has recently allowed Kirkman and the other creative execs to pursue two amended claims (Buckley had basically shot down their original claim a year ago).
The first argument, as described by THR, is an “alleged breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” What does this mean in non-legal language? It’s still confusing, but the gist is that Kirkman can argue that AMC purposely defined profits to make sure that Kirkman and the other execs wouldn’t get any of it.
The second argument Buckley greenlit is “alleged tortious interference.” This approach claims that AMC Network — a sister company to the entity in contract with Kirkman and crew — took action that purposely gave its sister company an advantage.
So what does this tell us, other than the fact that I’m so happy I never became a lawyer? It tells us that how Hollywood makes money is confusing. It also tells us that Kirkman and crew still have two potential avenues to sue AMC. Finally, it also suggests that Kirkman et al could get hundreds of millions of dollars if they win.
When and if that happens, however, remains uncertain. Legal battles like this often take years. This one already has several years under its belt and I expect it will be years before anything is decided. The reality for fans, however, is that nothing much will change show-wise. AMC will keep churning on depressing post-apocalyptic zombie content for you to enjoy.
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