Taymor and ‘Spidey’ settle

Tentative deal would resolve dispute

Has “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” finally broken free of its legal entanglements?

Possibly, based on a tentative settlement reached between the producers of the big-budget Broadway musical and Julie Taymor, the director dismissed from her duties on the show last spring.

The two camps’ dueling lawsuits, with Taymor claiming copyright infringement and producers countersuing for breach of contract, had seemed poised to go to court next year, but according to a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the two parties have now reached a deal that, if it holds, would resolve the dispute for undisclosed terms.

The agreement isn’t yet rock solid, with a proviso that the case could be reopened within the next two months should the pact fall through.

Taymor had claimed in her suit that enough of her original work remained in the current version of the oft-retooled musical to constitute copyright infringement. Producers aimed to fend off the assertion with counterclaims that many of the creative elements for which Taymor took credit were in fact based on pre-existing incarnations of the comicbook hero.

If the new deal holds, it would mark the end of the long legal wrangling over the musical, which overcame a lengthy, troubled preview period to become one of Broadway’s top sellers, regularly posting weekly sales of more than $1 million. Another lawsuit, filed on Taymor’s behalf by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society over unpaid directing royalties, was settled in February.

Neither side in the “Spider-Man” dispute had any immediate comment on the latest settlement.

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