Game Maker Sour on 'Candy Land' Movie
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Hasbro is making an Adam Sandler movie based on the board game "Candy Land" without permission from the company that created the game's characters and environments, the company claims in court.
Landmark Entertainment Group sued Rhode Island-based Hasbro and its affiliate Hasbro Studios in Federal Court, demanding an accounting and damages for copyright infringement and breach of contract.
Retired schoolteacher Eleanor Abbott invented "Candy Land" in 1945 as she was recovering from polio in a San Diego hospital. Milton Bradley Co. bought the game and released it in 1949.
In the July 16 lawsuit, Landmark claims that it "completely revamped" the game in the early 1980s. Before 1984, the game featured only a "generic boy and girl," according to Landmark, which takes credit for introducing the colorful characters and environments now featured in the game, including King Kandy, Lord Licorice, Princess Lolly and others. Landmark says it licensed those characters to the Milton Bradley Co. in 1985. By that time, Milton Bradley was a wholly owned subsidiary of Hasbro.
The license agreement, which included a $50,000 advance payment and a 3 percent cut of royalties, granted neither Milton Bradley nor Hasbro rights to make a film, Landmark says.
"Hasbro has infringed and is willfully infringing Landmark's rights by, among other things, making a feature film based upon Landmark's Candy Land characters and other creative works without authorization, attribution or compensation," according to the lawsuit.
Landmark claims that Hasbro has marketed and sold an animated adaptation of the game, "Candy Land: The Great Lollipop Adventure" released on home video in 2005, a hand-held game, and a DVD video game.
"The license agreement does not authorize these uses of the 'Candy Land' works [either]," the 19-page complaint adds.
Landmark says that when it notified Hasbro, the company claimed that the "Candy Land" board game and its characters were made-for-hire works "and wrongfully claimed ownership of Landmark's characters, despite a license agreement to the contrary."
In May this year, Hasbro announced that Columbia Pictures will distribute a live-action "Candy Land" movie starring Adam Sandler. The plot revolves around a quest to find the "lost king" of "Candy Land."
Landmark seeks an order declaring it is the owner of copyrights in "Candy Land," an accounting of profits, and damages.
It is represented by Sheldon Eisenberg with Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Hasbro did not respond to a request for comment.