×

Outlaw, Tribune team for Tracy

Comic character may take to TV despite lawsuit

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Outlaw Prods. partners Bobby Newmyer and Scott Strauss have teamed in a deal with the Tribune Co. to resurrect Dick Tracy and make him the centerpiece of a TV series.

But whether Tribune really has rights to Dick Tracy is the subject of a lawsuit filed last week by Warren Beatty, who claims he has rights to the comicbook character.

Nonetheless, the producers are proceeding as though they have properly obtained legitimate rights from Tribune. They plan to set a writer and then approach studios with a contempo take on the classic square-jawed cop.

Beatty, represented by attorney Bert Fields, filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court seeking damages against Tribune and a declaration that Beatty owns the Tracy rights (Daily Variety, May 15).

At issue is a complicated rights reversion process contained in a 1985 agreement with Tribune that originally gave Beatty film, television and other rights to Dick Tracy. Tribune last year said it has met the conditions to get back the rights, while Beatty says it has not.

Created in comicstrip form by Chester Gould in 1931 during the heyday of criminals like Al Capone, John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde, Tracy battled fictitious villains Big Boy, Flattop, Pruneface and the Brow.

While Beatty’s film stayed in period mode, di Bonaventura and Strauss want to give the TV series a contemporary feel, comparable to what “Smallville” has done with the Superman franchise.

Di Bonaventura and Strauss said if the TV show works, they’ll look to exploit the brand with a feature. Di Bonaventura, who spent years at Warner Bros. to develop a feature version of Superman, said the effort wasn’t hurt by “Smallville” or “Lois & Clark.” Bryan Singer now is directing the feature film.

Project marks the first series effort for Outlaw, which is developing “Hanssen,” a Universal pic scripted and to be directed by Billy Ray about Robert Hanssen, the notorious FBI agent who gave up spy secrets to the Soviet Union. Di Bonaventura is in post-production on the features “Doom,” “Four Brothers” and “Derailed.”

More TV

  • Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium

    Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium Series 'Herzogpark'

    German media group Leonine has taken international distribution rights to the six-part premium series “Herzogpark,” following a deal with its producers Letterbox Filmproduktion (“Bad Banks”). The rights for German-speaking territories are held by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The dramedy centers on four women from Munich’s upscale Herzogpark district, for whom keeping secrets has become a life’s [...]

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

  • Love Me Scandinavian Cinema

    Scandinavia Ups Its Game With So Many Markets for Its Fare

    When the Nordic entertainment group, one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, announced last month during the Goteborg Film Festival that it was pulling out of non-scripted content to focus on scripted drama, and film production and distribution, it underscored two market trends in the Nordics: Subscription-based services, whether local or global, are driving the region’s [...]

  • Louis Hofmann in Prélude

    Berlin: Louis Hofmann Cast in Damian John Harper's 'Fresh' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German star Louis Hofmann is set to topline Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama “Fresh,” a German-language adaptation of Scottish writer Mark McNay’s novel of the same name. Hofmann plays a young man who must emancipate himself from his tyrannical older brother. Unlike the book, which is set in the outskirts of Glasgow, the film’s story [...]

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content