Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Gets Sued, Might Lose More Money

By Brent Randall 2011-11-08 20:01:58
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Just when Broadway’s whipping boy, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark got out of the news for a little bit, and actually started to make (a bit) of money, the troubled play has been hit again with some more adversity.

Former director Julie Taymor is suing the producers of the show, filing a claim that states the production is profiting from what she contributed while working with Bono and The Edge, without fairly compensating her. The New York Times states that Taymor is looking for $1 million, in addition to future royalty payments. She says she’s only been paid about $52,000.

Taymor was the director of the play, which had several false starts, until she was fired in March. Amongst the many problems with the production was apparently the need to re-tool the script, which was said to have undergone a major overhaul after Taymor was removed from the project. However, this lawsuit says that many of her script and staging contributions still remain in the show today – approximately 25%, she asserts.

Spider-Man is currently one of the most successful shows on Broadway, at least in terms of ticket sales. But don’t let that fool you. While it takes in around $1.5 million a week, it costs about $1 million a week to put the show on. Behind the scenes, the word is that money is tight for the production, with as much focus being placed on which creditors will be paid back as the show that goes on stage each night.

Along with Taymor’s lawsuit an investor has also recently filed a lawsuit against the producers claiming that she was not paid on time for money she contributed to help retrofit the theater for the show. While that is a more tangible contribution, it's clear that if Taymor is right, her contribution would be just as important to the production. I’m not familiar with what she supposedly offered the play, and how that compares to the finished product, but if it matches up, she deserves the money just like any other artist should be paid when their work is exploited.
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