On February 28, 2019, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu judge tentatively rejected Harvey Weinstein, Miramax LLC and others' attempt to dismiss claims alleging that they stole intellectual property from the author of “The Amityville Horror” to create a film sequel, "The Amityville Horror: The Awakening.”
Anson's suit, filed in 2017, which also names Bob Weinstein, The Weinstein Co., Lionsgate Entertainment Corp., Entertainment One Ltd., Blumhouse Productions LLC and Lantern Entertainment LLC, alleges that defendants collectively and unlawfully produced and released a theatrical movie sequel that “hijacked” the novel. Anson also said the sequel was “of such poor quality” and performed so badly at the box office that it “substantially damaged” the value of Anson's intellectual property.
At the hearing for the motion to dismiss, an attorney for Harvey Weinstein argued that Weinstein and the other companies were not allowed to make a derivative work of Anson's book but contended that they hadn't done that. Weinstein said Anson's claims are “founded on the mistaken belief that [Anson] has an exclusive right to spin tales of demonic possession and the supernatural at the Amityville house.”
The Lutz family's experiences living in the house were the subject of the book “The Amityville Horror” by Anson that was adapted into a successful film of the same name in 1979 starring Margot Kidder and James Brolin. The film grossed more than $85 million, according to the complaint, and was the most successful independent film for decades.
Anson is represented by Marc Toberoff of Toberoff & Associates PC.
Harvey Weinstein is represented by Jonathan S. Pink and Jean M. Kim of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.
The Weinstein Co. LLC, Lionsgate Entertainment Corp., Entertainment One Ltd., Bob Weinstein and Blumhouse Productions LLC are represented by Vincent Cox, Louis P. Petrich and Elizabeth Schilken of Leopold Petrich & Smith PC.
Miramax LLC is represented by David B. Jonelis, Brian G. Wolf and Henry L. Self III of Lavely & Singer Professional Corp.
Lantern Entertainment LLC is represented by Andrew Deutsch of DLA Piper LLP.
The case is Lesia Anson v. Harvey Weinstein et al., case number 2:17-cv-08360, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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