You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Settlement reached in ‘Devil’s Advocate’ case

WB agrees to cut scenes from film in order to proceed with vid release

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a deal with a Virginia-based sculptor, Warner Bros. has agreed to cut several scenes from “The Devil’s Advocate” in order to proceed with today’s video release date — a release which a federal judge here promised to block unless a settlement was reached.

The deal, reached with sculptor Frederick Hart Thursday, allows 475,000 copies of the pic to move through video stores on a rental basis without any edits. But the studio will have to makes the cuts before it releases the video for sale. In addition, any TV screening of the pic will have to be cut to conform with the agreement.

Warner Bros. was forced into the settlement after a federal judge in Virginia ruled that Hart was likely to succeed with his claim that a key prop from the movie was based on his masterpiece “Ex Nihilo.”

Hart’s signature sculpture dominates the entrance to the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington — the sixth-largest gothic cathedral in the world. The Cathedral Foundation, which jointly owns the copyright with Hart, was also a party to the lawsuit against Warner Bros.

The pic’s helmer Taylor Hackford was informed of the pending changes by WB execs, but there is little he can do about the edits since the studio controls the copyrights. “No filmmaker wants to see any changes to a film for which he has delivered the master print,” said Hackford’s agent, CAA’s Fred Specktor.

A press release issued jointly by Warner Bros., Hart and the Cathedral stated “There is no relationship between the sculpture in ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and Mr. Hart’s ‘Ex Nihilo.’ ” The press release also stated, “Neither Mr. Hart nor the Cathedral endorses or sponsors or is in any way affiliated with ‘Devil’s Advocate’ or the art work in it.”

Sources close to the deal said other aspects of the agreement remain confidential and would not comment when asked if Hart or the Cathedral would also be given a financial settlement. It is also not clear how much of the pic will have to be cut, but the prop in question is on screen for approximately 20 minutes.

Warner Bros. was forced to enter the settlement after a judge ruled on Feb. 9 that Hart and the Cathedral had a “substantial likelihood” of success if the case went to trial. U.S. Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III made that ruling as part of a decision to block the video release unless the parties reached an independent settlement. If the agreement had not been reached, the video would have been blocked pending the outcome a trial which Ellis had scheduled to begin on March 16.

Hart, who recently suffered a severe stroke, was also eager to reach a settlement and avoid the rigors of a trial. “I am very thrilled,” said Hart’s lawyer Campbell Killefer, adding that he is thrilled in part “because Hart is thrilled.”

More Film

  • Glass trailer

    'Glass': Five Box Office Takeaways From M. Night Shyamalan's Thriller

    With his fifth No. 1 box office opening, M. Night Shyamalan has plenty to celebrate. “Glass,” the conclusion to a trilogy that consists of the 2000 cult hit “Unbreakable” and 2016’s box office sensation “Split,” topped the box office last weekend — though its win comes with a few caveats. James McAvoy reprised his role [...]

  • Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama

    Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama Title 'Family Members' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Patra Spanou has picked up world sales rights to “Los miembros de la familia” (Family Members), which will world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. Variety has been given an exclusive first look of the film’s trailer. The film is the second feature from writer/director Mateo Bendesky, and is produced by Agustina Costa [...]

  • Great Point Media, The Development Partnership

    Great Point Media, The Development Partnership Join Forces on Slate of Movies

    Great Point Media and The Development Partnership, the development and production arm of Robert Taylor’s talent agency the Artists Partnership, are joining forces to develop, package, and co-produce multiple films, kicking off with three projects, including “Chasing Agent Freegard,” starring James Norton (“War & Peace”). “Chasing Agent Freegard,” which is being produced by “Captain Phillips” [...]

  • Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’

    Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’ Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s Miami-based FiGa Films, a leading sales agent on the independent Latin American scene, has announced the acquisition of Brazilian doc “Landless,” and released a trailer for the Costa Rican-Spanish drama “El despertar de las hormigas.” Both features will play at this year’s Berlinale Forum and come from young Latin American filmmakers making their [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to

    Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to Promote 'Deadpool 2' in China

    Ryan Reynolds canceled surgery on his arm to fly to China and charm “Deadpool” fans in Beijing on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s unexpected China theatrical debut. Just last week, Fox suddenly announced that a re-cut, PG-13 “Deadpool 2” would hit Chinese theaters starting this Friday – the first time the notoriously blood-splattered and foul-mouthed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content