AMC Looks for Dismissal of Darabont's Contract Claims in "Walking Dead" Lawsuit

Deadline reported Friday that AMC has responded to Frank Darabont and Creative Artists Agency's latest claims, and is seeking a complete dismissal. Back in early August, former "The Walking Dead" showrunner Darabont and and CAA revived their legal battle against AMC with an amended complaint alleging that participation profits were lowered after the original litigation was filed in December 2013, with Darabont's "Developed By Profits" lowered from 10 percent to 7.5 percent, and his "EP/Showrunner Profits" lowered from 2.5 to 1.875 percent. This fractional difference could mean millions of dollars, considering the amount of money generated by "The Walking Dead."

"Contracts are not screenplays," notes AMC's lawyers in their memorandum in support of the dismissal, which can be read online. "They cannot be unilaterally rewritten simply because one party dislikes the ending. Yet, that is precisely what plaintiff Frank Darabont, a screenwriter, attempts to accomplish by amending his Complaint in this action to allege that he is entitled to an additional five percentage points of contingent compensation beyond the more than ten percentage points he already receives."

Darabont and CAA's new complaint also mentioned the "Walking Dead" spinoff series "Fear the Walking Dead," calling it a "derivative works of the Series" to which Darabont deserves payment and credit for.

AMC's response did not mention the "Fear the Walking Dead" issue; however, the company has been careful in labeling the series a "companion" series, which Deadline called "a parsing of language with legal implications."

Darabont and CAA also responded to the memorandum, with their lead lawyer Dale Kinsella telling Deadline, "AMC's relentless effort to deprive Frank Darabont of his vested rights to participate in the profits of TWD is yet another example of their callous attitude toward the creator of the show. This frivolous motion will be vigorously opposed."

Darabont and CAA's original suit claimed the network set an unrealistically low license fee for "The Walking Dead," in order to limit the pool of funds paid out to profit participants, and that Darabont was wrongfully fired from the show. Litigation has since been ongoing, with no ruling made.

AMC's "The Walking Dead," based on the Image Comics series created by Robert Kirkman and illustrated originally by Tony Moore and currently by Charlie Adlard, debuted on Halloween 2010 as an instant ratings hit. Darabont served as showrunner of the first season and developed the comic book series for television, before being fired in July 2011, three months before the start of season two. The show has steadily grown in popularity, spawning a vast multimedia franchise.

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