Producer Donald Borchers filed a federal copyright suit on Thursday, alleging that he and not The Weinstein Company owns the sequel rights to “Children of the Corn.”
Borchers produced the original 1984 film, based on the Stephen King short story about a cult of murderous children. He also wrote and directed a 2009 TV adaptation.
Miramax acquired rights to the franchise in 1994 and produced several sequels under the Dimension Films label, many of them went straight to video, beginning with “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering” in 1996, all the way through the eighth installment in 2011.
Borchers has also been seeking to reboot the franchise since about 2004. In the lawsuit, Borchers says he initially approached Miramax with the idea of remaking the original film. At the time, he says he was told that Miramax had lost interest in the franchise because it no longer performed theatrically and the video business was slowing down. According to Borchers, Miramax liked the idea of a remake, but quickly discovered that it had failed to secure the remake rights to the original film. So, without telling Borchers, the company acquired those rights from Park Avenue Entertainment, the lawsuit states.
In 2016, Borchers wrote a spec script for a film “spinoff” of “Children of the Corn,” and tried to license those rights from Dimension, now a subsidiary of The Weinstein Company. Dimension did not confirm whether it held those rights, and Borchers alleges he later determined that Park Avenue had in fact reserved them. Borchers says he has recently acquired the spinoff rights once held by Park Avenue, and informed Dimension of this. Dimension contests Borchers’ claim, according to the suit.
Borchers is now suing to confirm that he holds the rights.
“Absent this Court’s declaration of Borchers’ rights, and a resolution of legal uncertainties, he cannot submit any production, including a spinoff, for Copyright registration without concern for engaging in a potentially unlawful use or facing criminal liability,” the suit states. “And, if Borchers is able to produce, because the Defendants have denied, or refused to acknowledge, his rights, Borchers faces a potential infringement action by the Defendants.”
The Weinstein Company did not respond to a request for comment.