Skip to comments.Science Fiction, Legal Reality (Sci-fi Writer Philip K. Dick's Heirs Battle Hollywood)
Posted on 11/26/2011 3:49:41 PM PST by nickcarraway
Sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick's heirs battle Hollywood over the rights to the 2011 Matt Damon film "The Adjustment Bureau."
Plot outline for a Philip K. Dick story:
Hollywood buys film rights to obscure short story by famous author. Makes movie. Movie makes money. Producers then claim they never needed to buy rights in the first place. Demand their money back.
Emblematic Philip K. Dick story elements: Attempt to turn back time and murkiness of reality. Extra mind-bending plot twist: Author of original story is named Philip K. Dick.
As Laura Dick Coelho, one of the late author's daughters, told me: "Everything in the Philip K. Dick world is complicated."
She was talking specifically about the personal life of her father she's the offspring of the third of his five marriages. But her observation applies well to the dispute over the 2011 Matt Damon film "The Adjustment Bureau," which was based on "Adjustment Team," a short story Dick wrote in the 1950s.
If you haven't heard of Philip K. Dick, you're at least familiar with his work. He produced a huge corpus of visionary fiction before his death in 1982, including stories that became the basis for the films "Blade Runner," "Minority Report" and "Total Recall."
The Dick estate, which is managed by Coelho, 51, and her half-sister Isa Dick Hackett, 44, optioned the film rights to "Adjustment Team" to writer/director George Nolfi in 2001 for $25,000. Nolfi, who subsequently wrote the screenplay and directed the retitled film version, had transferred the rights to Media Rights Capital, an independent studio. The producers exercised the option by paying the estate $1.4 million, with at least $500,000 more due once the film achieved its break-even point.
But the rest was never paid. Media Rights Capital says it has learned that
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Hollywood greedy? No.....
Since when do you not to buy the rights first? Has his writings become public property somehow?
“Isa Dick Hackett”
I know there’s a joke in there somewhere.
not in the least because he was a Bi Polar Schizophrenic affective...
His stories, written largely without effective medications for his condition certainly do show his adventures into alternate reality.
Some very interesting work there.
“Some very interesting work there.”
Great stuff! A favorite writer.
Do androids dream of electric profits?
Won’t say that Hollywood producers are greedy; however, it’s a little known fact that electrical wire was first invented by two producers fighting over a penny.
Strange but true.
And the Grand Canyon was created by... you guessed it... a producer who dropped a nickel.
Little-known facts in American History.
Very interesting article.
Back around Dick’s “Divorce # 2 (or maybe #3) Period”, he asked my (then single friend) wife to marry him. He was quite serious...and so was she in her refusal.
Back to the article: here is something I hope the ladies and their lawyers are exploring:
It was standard pulpzine practice back them to only purchase “First North American Serial Rights”; or, more rarely, “First Serial Rights” in a story, with all other rights remaining vested in the author. It was extremely rare for a magazine to outright purchase full rights.
So, even though the ‘Orbit’ copyright may have been valid and expired, they had most likely only purchased the right to first magazine publication in the U.S., and the anthology publication would STILL be the relavant copyright.
It sounds like they didn’t purchase any rights, or even tell the author they were publishing that.
That film was lousy!
True; Wolheim probably didn’t purchase any rights.
Just saying that it should be immatterial, even if he had: that magazine publishing would most likely be moot no matter what.
The Autobio or notebook he maintained was the most interesting part of the story.
Shame the producers appear to be attempting to back out at this late point.
As Harlan Ellison said, “Pay the writer!”