×

$200 mil suit targets ‘Sister Act’

Donna Douglas filed a $ 200 million suit against Whoopi Goldberg and Bette Midler, their production companies, Creative Artists Agency, Walt Disney Pictures and others Thursday, alleging the film “Sister Act” was improperly derived from a property owned by the actress and her partner.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, claims more than 100 similarities and direct plagiarisms between “Sister Act” and a Douglas-owned book and screenplay.

Douglas, best known for her role as Elly May Clampett in the TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and Curt Wilson, her partner in Associated Artists Entertainment, allegedly optioned the book “A Nun in the Closet” in 1985 and had it developed into a screenplay.

They claim in their suit that the work was submitted three times during 1987- 88 to Walt Disney Pictures, Midler’s All Girls Prods. and Goldberg’s production company, Whoop Inc.

The project was rejected, although Douglas and Wilson claimed offers were made to purchase the screenplay outright. Information on who made the purchase offers was not available.

Douglas and Wilson retained attorney Carl Person, who recaptured the copyright of the 1950s hit “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” for the two surviving members of the group Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers.

Reps for Disney and CAA offered no comment. A spokesperson for Midler’s All Girl Prods. claimed no knowledge of the suit. Goldberg’s production company could not be reached for comment.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content