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Producer Suing New Line for ‘The Conjuring’ Asks Court for Dismissal

Less than a week after suing New Line Cinema over alleged racketeering in the rights to “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle,” Tony DeRosa-Grund has asked a federal court to toss out the case.

Lawyers for DeRosa-Grund, who was also a producer on “The Conjuring,” filed the request in U.S. District Court in Houston to “dismiss, without prejudice” his Oct. 22 suit against New Line and exec Craig A. Alexander.

The move leaves the door open for DeRosa-Grund to file a new suit against the Warner Bros. subsidiary. The studio had no comment.

Separately, U.S. District Court Judge Lee H. Rosenthal in Houston granted a dismissal motion to New Line and Warner Bros. in an earlier breach of contract suit filed by DeRosa-Grund in March.

The legal moves come with New Line having generated $320 million in worldwide box office from “The Conjuring” and over $200 million from “Annabelle.” James Wan came on board last week to direct a “Conjuring” sequel, set for release in 2016.

The Oct. 22 suit alleged that New Line and Alexander had misrepresented to a bankruptcy court its intentions for the rights to the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life paranormal investigators who inspired “The Conjuring” and its spin-off “Annabelle.”

It alleged that New Line and Alexander had transferred the rights to Warner Bros. and that the studio “assumed no obligations” to comply with New Line’s rights agreements even though it reaped the financial benefit.

At that point, a Warner Bros. spokesman said, “The case has no merit and we will vigorously defend it.”

DeRosa-Grund had obtained the rights to the files, but was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 2009. He claimed New Line gained “enormous leverage” by intervening in the proceeding and making sure that it would be the only option when it came to winning bankruptcy trustee approval for a rights deal.

DeRosa-Grund cited an ongoing dispute between Harvey Weinstein, Warner Bros. and New Line over the returns from “The Hobbit” movies as part of the “ongoing pattern of racketeering activity.”

DeRosa-Grund also contended that New Line and Alexander falsely represented that they had no interest in negotiating TV rights to the Warren files but asserted that when he tried to make a deal with Lionsgate, New Line argued that it retained those rights and Lionsgate terminated the project.

The producer also alleged that he is owed more than $2 million in producer and rights fees.

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