Looks like it is about time for the annual update on the lawsuit between games-maker Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment over the rights to films based on Hasbro’s Dungeons & Dragons game franchise.
The case has finally opened in court, and Deadline reports that the juryless trial has opened with a volley of magic missiles between the parties.
Patricia Glaser, the lawyer representing Sweetpea, claims that the lawsuit is simply an attempt by Hasbro to re-capture the rights in order to hand them over to Universal, while Sweetpea has met all the requirements to maintain the rights according to their 1994 agreement with then-D&D owner TSR, having produced several (poorly performing) sequels, including a 2010 direct-to-DVD release that they say Hasbro even signed off on. They go on to claim that since acquiring Wizards of the Coast in 1999, which had previously acquired TSR in 1997, Hasbro has been trying to undermine Sweetpea’s rights to the franchise.
Hasbro counter-claims that Sweetpea was doing nothing except producing “auto-sequels” and was not paying the required licensing fees.
An interested third party in this is Warner Bros, who after failing to negotiate proper rights with Hasbro to a movie based on Chainmail, the predecessor to Dungeons & Dragons, partnered with Sweetpea to take over the franchise rights. WB is apparently putting up as much as $1 million for legal fees for Sweetpea in the case.
The case is expected to last the rest of the week.