MANHATTAN (CN) – Three lawsuits were filed Wednesday on rights to the independent film “Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The Weinstein Co. sued two film companies in New York County Court and was itself sued in Los Angeles Superior Court. Weinstein claims it reached a licensing and distributing deal with Cinetic Media on Jan. 27, two days after “Push” won the Sundance award, but Cinetic couldn’t deliver because the international rights already had been offered to nonparty Elephant Eye Films, and, Weinstein claims, Cinetic kept shopping the film until Lionsgate Entertainment bought it.
On Wednesday, as Lionsgate sued Weinstein in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming Weinstein has no rights to film, Weinstein sued Smokewood Entertainment Group in New York County Court, claiming Smokewood breached a deal to license to movie to Weinstein. Weinstein also sued Cinetic that day, in the case already described.
The film about an abused teen-age girl in 1980s Harlem has no release date yet.
Lionsgate bought rights to the independent film for about $5.5 million, according to industry publications. The movie won the Grand Jury Price at the last Sundance festival. Despite the award, industry watchers expect the movie will be a hard sell, as it’s about a girl who is pregnant by her father – again – and who also is abused by her mother.