Creator of The Walking Dead Robert Kirkman, as well as producers Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Mazzara and David Alpert filed a huge lawsuit at Los Angeles Superior Court Monday that surrounds the show.
They write that the network has kept “the lion’s share” of profits from the series and haven’t distributed them properly to the creative team, including actors. The lawsuit is potentially for billions of dollars.
They filed the lawsuit under the notion of several charges including breach of contracts and violation of California business code.
“This case arises from a major entertainment conglomerate’s failure to honor its contractual obligations to the creative people — the ‘talent,’ in industry jargon — behind the wildly successful, and hugely profitable, long-running television series The Walking Dead,” they write.
“The defendant AMC Entities exploited their vertically integrated corporate structure to combine both the production and the exhibition of TWD, which allowed AMC to keep the lion’s share of the series’ enormous profits for itself and not share it with the Plaintiffs, as required by their contracts.”
To get into a little bit more detail, The Walking Dead initially took less to make than other AMC series. (Better Call Saul, Mad Men) This is because they were produced by outside studios, unlike The Walking Dead. This way, the money issue didn’t happen to them.
“While AMC Network previously aired such popular shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the ratings of TWD – and the revenues that accompanied those ratings – have far exceeded the ratings and revenues from those series, and have catapulted AMC Parent, and its financial value to a whole new level,” they write in the suit.
“But while the AMC Parent has been richly rewarded for the success of TWD (and from Fear the Walking Dead (“FTWD”), and the Talking Dead (“TTD”), both of which are also subjects of this lawsuit), AMC has used its vertically-integrated corporate structure to avoid sharing that financial success with the profit participants, including the Plaintiffs who wrote, created and produced these programs.”
It is stated in each of the creators’ contracts what percentage they are owed from the profits, and in AMC hasn’t followed through with that, the suit will be close to a billion dollars. As stated in Kirkman’s contract, he is to receive 5 percent of profits from the show, while Hurd is to receive 7.5 percent. If AMC is found to have suffused the profits from the series since Season One, the damages could total close to $1 billion.
Kirkman is promised 5 percent of show profits in his original contract, while Gale Anne Hurd is owed 7.5 percent.
Fans have been worried about what this could mean for the series, but a rep from AMC spoke out to comfort them, saying the lawsuit is a “fairly common” type of thing.
“These kinds of lawsuits are fairly common in entertainment and they all have one thing in common — they follow success. Virtually every studio that has had a successful show has been the target of litigation like this, and The Walking Dead has been the No. 1 show on television for five years in a row, so this is no surprise. We have enormous respect and appreciation for these plaintiffs, and we will continue to work with them as partners, even as we vigorously defend against this baseless and predictably opportunistic lawsuit.”
This comes on top of another lawsuit that Frank Darabont is still heading against AMC where he accused them of a similar thing, withholding profits and breaching his contract. That lawsuit has been active since 2013.
We hope everything gets resolved in the best way!
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo