‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ dispute heads back to court
Considering all the drama that once surrounded the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark — cast injuries, delays, a ballooning budget, terrible reviews, the ouster of the original director — it was probably too much to expect that the resulting lawsuit between Julie Taymor and the show’s producers could be settled quickly and relatively quietly.
However, that seemed to be the case in August, when a federal judge announced that the Tony Award-winning director had reached a settlement with lead producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris regarding dueling lawsuits that followed her March 2011 firing from the $70 million musical she co-wrote. The case was dismissed, leaving the parties to put the finishing touches on an agreement. Unable to reach a deal by January, they agreed to revive the lawsuit in hopes that they could arrive at a final settlement before a May trial date.
Despite a glimmer of hope in late January, Taymor and the producers are still unable to agree on terms. And now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest has decided to put and end to the back and forth, scheduling a trial for May 28.
Taymor was fired following her resistance to making any major changes in the wake of a series of blistering reviews. A new creative team was brought in to overhaul Spider-Man — many of Taymor’s signature elements were stripped in the process — transforming it into one of the most successful, if also most expensive, productions on Broadway. She alleges that Cohl and Harris violated her copyrights and deprived her of future royalties; the producers insist Taymor “could not and would not do the jobs that she was contracted to do,” and therefore didn’t deserve additional royalties.
In 2012, the producers settled a grievance filed on Taymor’s behalf by her union, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and agreed to pay her $9,750 a week in royalties in accordance with her contract as director.