Warners ponies up ‘Hazzards’ pay

Chalk one up for the little guy. Warner Bros. Pictures has agreed to pay a Georgia-based producer at least $17.5 million for infringing on the copyright to his even-more-obscure 1974 United Artists film, “Moonrunners,” which became the basis of the hit Warners TV show, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The amount paid to the producer, Robert B. Clark, is more than what the studio spent in talent salaries on the new “Hazzard” movie. However, Warners was faced with federal judge Gary Allen Feess’ preliminary injunction, which would have canceled the Aug. 13 release of Warner’s new “Dukes of Hazzard” feature and seen all copies of the $55 million Johnnie Knoxville-starrer impounded by federal marshals. What’s more, the film’s DVD release would have been delayed indefinitely, and its $40 million theatrical marketing budget – much of that spent on spot TV ads – would have gone down the drain.

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