Netflix's Tiger King Hit With A New Lawsuit, This Time From Ace Ventura's Production Company

joe exotic and a tiger in tiger king
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix’s controversial docuseries Tiger King was one of the most talked-about streaming releases of 2020, but not all of the attention that it received was positive. Multiple lawsuits have arisen surrounding both the case that was covered in the series and the series itself, and now another has been filed from none other than the production company behind the Ace Ventura films. Morgan Creek Entertainment has sued Netflix as well as Tiger King production company Goode Films regarding use of footage from the Jim Carrey-led franchise in Tiger King

Tiger King used two clips from 1995’s Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls in its first episode, which was released back in March 2020 and has since been viewed by an incredible number of Netflix subscribers. According to a lawsuit from Morgan Creek Entertainment filed in Los Angeles federal court (via Reuters), the production company is suing on the alleged grounds of the docuseries infringing on Ace Ventura copyrights by including the clips. The lawsuit comes after the company and Netflix and Goode Films were unable to come to an agreement on the dispute after the series’ release. 

According to the lawsuit, the two clips used in Tiger King span for approximately five seconds altogether, although they come from separate scenes from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls: first when Jim Carrey’s character has a monkey wrapped around his neck, and then when he is riding an elephant. Ace Ventura is allegedly the only film with multiple clips used in the docuseries. The suit claims that Morgan Creek Entertainment “suffered substantial economic damage” due to the two clips’ inclusion, with the goal of an award of “up to and no less than $300,000” in damages, including attorneys’ fees.

Morgan Creek’s suit was filed on December 27, so if the case does go to jury trial as demanded by the production company, it won’t happen until the new year at the earliest. This is certainly not the first lawsuit filed against Netflix in relation to Tiger King, with Carole Baskin – who appeared in the first season as Joe Exotic’s nemesis – and husband Howard Baskin filing a complaint against the streaming giant just a couple of months earlier alleging breach of contract after they appeared in promotional material for the second season.

That case didn’t move very far ahead, as Netflix responded by saying that Carole and Howard Baskin did not need to approve their appearances in the promotional content due to the original releases signed for the first season. The Baskins ultimately dropped the suit in December 2021, after Season 2 released in late November. The second season didn’t generate nearly the kind of buzz as the first season, although that may be due to the timing, as the first season launched shortly after pandemic lockdowns began in 2020. The talks between Morgan Creek, Netflix, and Goode Films over Ace Ventura began in June 2020, just a few months after Tiger King made its divisive debut. 

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (previously available streaming on Netflix) was a hugely profitable film when it was released back in 1995, grossing more than $108 million after being produced on a budget of $30 million. Only time will tell if the lawsuit from the production company results in the $300,000 damages, but it can be added to the list of controversies to arise out of the release of Tiger King.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.