LOS ANGELES (CN) – Warren Beatty says Tribune Media Services cheated him of his movie and TV rights to comic strip character Dick Tracy. Beatty, who played the detective in a 1990 movie, wants to make a Dick Tracy TV special.
Tribune licensed Dick Tracy rights to Beatty in 1985, when he began production on the movie he also directed and starred in. The licensing agreement allowed Beatty to retain production rights until “a certain period of time had lapsed without Beatty having produced Dick Tracy programming,” the complaint states. At that point, the contract allowed Tribune to issue a 2-year warning for Beatty to make a Dick Tracy movie or TV show, or rights would revert to Tribune.
Beatty sued Tribune in 2005, claiming that the company ended his rights without the warning period. Tribune agreed to drop its claim, but issued a 2-year warning in November 2006, when the underlying litigation was dismissed.
Beatty says Tribune sent him a letter dated Nov. 17, 2006, telling him he must “commence principal photography on ‘another theatrical motion picture or television series or special’ within two years after receipt of this notice,” or Dick Tracy rights would revert to Tribune.
Beatty says he began production of a Dick Tracy television special just before the deadline. He says he told Tribune that he started filming on Nov. 8 this year, but Tribune said it could terminate his rights anyway.
Tribune Media Services is the Tribune’s syndication service.
Beatty is represented by Charles Shephard and Bert Fields with Greenberg Glusker Fields.