The screenwriters of the original “When a Stranger Calls” have sued Sony over allegedly being cut out of the development and profit participation in the studio’s recent remake of the horror-thriller.
Stephen Feke and Fred Walton also have named Screen Gems, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, Simon Film Prods. and Melvin Simon as defendants in the breach-of-contract suit filed in a Los Angeles district court.
Sony attorney Dennis Nolette said, “We do not comment on pending litigation.”
Feke and Walton allege that under a 1978 agreement with Simon Film, the producer was obligated to pay the pair additional compensation for any sequel, prequel or remake, with the amount to be determined by discussions and/or custom and practice. The duo allege that Simon violated the agreement in 2003 by not consulting with them when assigning the rights to Sony.
Feke and Walton also allege that Sony is obligated to pay them fixed compensation plus a percentage of net profits, defined in the original agreement as 15.25% of the profits.
Suit lists five causes of action, and the plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 million in damages on four of them. Suit was refiled recently after Judge Joseph Biderman ruled that the plaintiffs could not seek attorneys’ fees.
The original “When a Stranger Calls,” starring Carol Kane, was released in 1979. The remake, starring Camilla Belle, opened in February to $21.6 million and went on to gross nearly $48 million domestically and $12 million internationally.
Remake was produced by John Davis via his Davis Entertainment shingle along with Ken Lemberger and Wyck Godfrey. None of those is named as a defendant in the suit.