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The Walking Dead: Just Days Before Final Episode, Creator Robert Kirkman Files $200 Million Lawsuit Against AMC

Published on November 16th, 2022 | Updated on November 16th, 2022 | By FanFest

Although the highly-anticipated series finale of The Walking Dead is set to air this weekend, the court battles for money from the one-time blockbuster zombie apocalypse show are still ongoing.

With the remnants of a 2017 lawsuit filed by Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, and Charles Eglee still making their way through the courts, the producers on November 14 hit AMC with a new breach of contract action for $200 million.

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AMC

“Even though AMC exploited Plaintiffs’ ideas and services to make billions from The Walking Dead franchise, AMC issued a MAGR definition that, in its original form, would not have paid out a single dollar in profit participation to Plaintiffs,” said the filing in Los Angeles Superior Court focusing on modified adjusted gross receipts and other alleged sleight of hands by AMC. “Unsurprisingly, AMC’s MAGR definition has spurred a storm of disputes with the creative talent on The Walking Dead that ultimately resulted in litigation,” the 19-page document, plus exhibits adds (read it here).

“Plaintiffs are entitled to the same treatment afforded to Darabont with respect to his MAGR interests, they are therefore entitled to have the same valuation applied to their MAGR interests, which, collectively, exceed Darabont’s and CAA’s,” the filing goes on to say of the 2021 settlement just before trial with original TWD showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA after almost a decade of bitter litigation. “As a result, Plaintiffs are entitled to a payment well over $200 million from AMC, in an amount to be proved at trial.”

As The Walking Dead nears its end and several spin-offs are set to begin, the lawyer for AMC cautioned today against viewing the network as solely TWD properties.

AMC

“Robert Kirkman, David Alpert and the rest of these plaintiffs have had their biggest claims against AMC Networks thrown out of court twice, so now they are back with another lawsuit,” Gibson Dunn partner Orin Snyder told Deadline in a statement. “And another lawsuit means another attempt to rewrite their agreements and extract even more than the millions they have already been paid, and will be paid in the future, for their profit participation in The Walking Dead. This is just another crass money grab. We are confident it will fail, as their previous attempts have failed.

After being practically demolished in April, Kirkman, Hurd, and the others’ suit regarding audit claims is set to go to trial in February 2023. Darabont–the director of Shawshank Redemption–and CAA first filed their comprehensive action back in 2013 but saw almost all of their rights bought out last week for a cash payment of $200 million as well as future revenue sharing relating to certain streamings of The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead.

BTS, Executive Producer Robert Kirkman, Executive Producer Greg Nicotero, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“Plaintiffs were forced to file this lawsuit as a result of AMC’s two faced treatment of their right to participate in the historic success of The Walking Dead,” said attorney Sheldon Eisenberg to Deadline on behalf of Kirkman, Hurd and the rest today. “On the one hand AMC tells them they are entitled to nothing based on erroneous pre-trial rulings which are subject to appeal, while AMC paid $200 million to Frank Darabont and CAA to avoid a New York jury’s review of the exact same contingent compensation definition,” the Sullivan & Triggs lawyer stated. “Instead of giving Plaintiffs the benefit of the Darabont settlement as required by the express terms of their contracts, AMC’s creative activity these days seems limited to figuring out new ways to mistreat the talent that is responsible for its now past success.”

The Walking Dead will end on November 20 after 11 seasons and 177 episodes. Though Kirkman ended the comic book series abruptly in 2019, AMC plans to continue the franchise with more spin-off shows, including Fear the Walking Dead, a Daryl Dixon-centered show starring Norman Reedus, and The Walking Dead: Dead City, set in New York City and featuring Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. There are also other unannounced projects in development, like a mini-series focused on Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln)and Michonne (portrayed by Danai Gurira).

Source: Deadline

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