Literary Scout Who “Discovered Twilight” May Win Case

The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive:

“Remember Nanette Shipley? She’s the literary scout who claimed credit for discovering and helping a company called Maverick Films launch films, Twilight and The Lighting Thief. Now comes word that Shipley has demonstrated to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge that she is likely to prevail in her claims. As a result, the judge has granted Shipley’s request to freeze $100,000 of Maverick’s assets pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

As we reported in February, Shipley alleged that she helped Maverick find and obtain the rights to both motion pictures. She said she was promised $75,000 for her work in connection with Twilight and $100,000 for her work in connection with The Lighting Thief, and was owed all but $20,000 of the total amount.

According to the attorneys for both parties, a few days before a Superior Court hearing on the matter, Maverick sent over a $55,000 check to satisfy what was owed to Shipley for Twilight.”

See more on THR

This case should proved to be an interesting one as there are a lot of players involved here. Maverick has changed hands several times ( it was initially launched by Madonna of all people). More recently it underwent a name change and is now Imprint, a name you will find in Twilight film end credits. Maverick films obtained the rights to the production and then worked with Summit to actually get Twilight made, and now works with them under the Imprint moniker.

Summit isn’t directly involved in this one. Think of Maverick/Imprint like a subcontractor.  Summit presumably thought Maverick had appropriately obtained all rights and paid its staff. In other words, call Summit the owner of a condo complex. Let’s say they need a new pool for the complex and they contract with some firm to do that. It’s that subcontracted firm’s responsibility so see that it’s workers are paid correctly, not the guy who owns the condo.

Comments

  1. I understand that this is not Summit’s issue, yet I have to wonder why there is so much litigation surrounding Twilight. Seems ugly.

    Is it always like this in Hollywood? Or is it just because it made so much money? Or made so much money… on paper? Or wasn’t expected to really make any, but then did, so that many things were handled in a slap-dash fashion?

    • In my humble, and completely-outside-the-industry, opinion, I think a lot of the lawsuits have come about because certain people – or certain TYPES of people – are glory-hounds and want their name attached to something HUGELY popular & successful. And they want a piece of the pie without actually having to work for it. It’s like when a person win the lottery: they suddenly have 500 “long, lost relatives.” Shame, really.

  2. Actually, that’s not correct. For the construction analogy, the “little guys” supplying labor/materials for the sub-contractor building the pool, can/will file what’s called a “Preliminary Notice” with the property owner who hired the sub-contractor to build the pool. If the “little guys” aren’t paid, they can file a lien against the property, and the property owner is responsible for paying the “little guys” in full. I’m an office administrator in the construction field, and I’ve dealt with this for 10 years. Such a lien has happened once, and safe to say you wouldn’t want to be the sub-contractor who didn’t pay their bills. As a side note, if you ever have work done on your house, be sure you do your homework and make darn sure the sub-contract you pick is credible and responsible.
    As film rights, I’m not sure if there is a similar procedure that is done, but Summit can be caught in the fray if it the courts go that route if Maverick/Imprint is found breach of contract and cannot fulfill their obligations. Again, this is speculation, but I wouldn’t say Summit is free and clear of the drama, even if it wasn’t of their own doing.

  3. As I’ve stated before in regards to this specific issue, everything comes down to contracts. Studios, both large and small, use various sources to obtain new materials for production. They employ readers (those who review scripts that were picked up from agents), scouts, those who proactively hunt for potential money making products, and word of mouth. At the end of the day, it all comes down to contracts. You have to a sign a contract for just about everything in this industry, and they do that for a reason. The longer the paper trail, the better your chances are of not getting screwed.

    I don’t know all the details in this case, but I would assume that the scout was paid a partial upfront for finding Percy Jackson and Twilight, with a possible promise of more funds if they get greenlit. (Greenlit means they go into production).

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