×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Coppola loses ‘Contact’

Suit dismissed, complaint too late

An appellate court has dismissed Francis Ford Coppola’s suit against author Carl Sagan and Warner Bros. for a share of the profits on the book and 1997 motion picture “Contact.”

Opinion affirms the trial court ruling. The California Court of Appeal found that Coppola’s claims were barred because they were brought too late. The court noted that it was not until 1994, when the director was looking for leverage in his dispute with the studio over “Pinocchio,” that he thought about suing over “Contact.”

In that separate suit, Coppola sued Warners claiming the studio improperly interfered with his attempt to move “Pinocchio” to Sony. In 1998, a jury awarded Coppola $80 million, of which $60 million was thrown out by the trial court. Both sides have appealed.

A Warner Bros. spokesperson said, “We are very gratified that the Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court’s dismissal of this baseless lawsuit.”

Scott Edelman, who represented Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan Sagan, added, “… It exceeds all bounds of decency that after waiting over 20 years, he chose to sue Sagan’s widow six days after Sagan died.” Said Coppola’s attorney, Robert Chapman: “The court made it clear that there was a contract between the parties and this was Coppola’s idea, but the court felt Coppola brought his claim too late. We disagree on the statute of limitations ruling and we will appeal.”

The “Contact” suit, filed in 1996, alleged that Coppola came up with the idea in 1975 for a television program, called “First Contact,” about Earth’s initial connection with extraterrestrials and had a contract with Sagan to develop a script, but the series never materialized.

In 1985, Sagan published the book “Contact,” and in 1995 Warners made a deal with Sagan to produce the motion picture based on the book.

More Film

  • Studiocanal has sold Jean-Paul Gaultier's "Freak

    Jean-Paul Gaultier's 'Freak And Chic' Documentary Sells For Studiocanal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Underscoring the strength and scope of French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s legacy around the world, the documentary “Jean Paul Gaultier Freak And Chic,” which chronicles the making of Gaultier’s ongoing popular show in Paris, has been luring distributors in key markets. Sold by Studiocanal and produced by Capa, the documentary has already been picked [...]

  • Korea Box Office: 'MAL·MO·E' and 'Inside

    Korea Box Office: 'MAL·MO·E' and 'Inside Me' Remain on Top

    There was no change at the top of the Korean box office, as local titles “MAL·MO·E: The Secret Mission” and “Inside Me (a.k.a. The Dude in Me)” dominated a second weekend. Lotte’s “MAL·MO·E” earned $4.79 million from 618,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday for a total of $16.7 million from 2.23 million admissions after two [...]

  • TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

    China Box Office: ‘Bumblebee’ Flies to $138 Million Total

    “Bumblebee” flew to its third weekend of dominance in China. But the Chinese box office remains in lackluster mode at the start of 2019. The spinoff of Paramount’s “Transformers” franchise earned $16.1 million in Chinese theaters between Friday and Sunday, according to data from exhibition and distribution consultancy Artisan Gateway. That was a 38% drop [...]

  • Mara Watkins Nabhaan Rizwan Steven Wouterlood

    Diverse Talents Pepper Variety's Fifth 10 Europeans to Watch List

    Variety has unveiled its fifth edition of 10 Europeans to Watch, spotlighting 10 rising talents from across the continent who are poised for breakthroughs in 2019. The selection includes emerging actors, directors, showrunners and cinematographers from six countries whose dynamic talents are being showcased on screens big and small, and on both sides of the camera. [...]

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content