In a story from The Hollywood Reporter, the Japanese animation property Voltron: Defender of the Universe is currently front and center in legal battle between indie producers James Young, Ford Oelman and Mark Costa of shingles Animus Films and NHO Entertainment. They allege that St. Louis-based World Events, who currently holds rights to the television property, and World Events' partner Kickstart Prods. have negotiated illegally with other producers during what was supposed to be an exclusive period.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court
"World Events secretly conspired with Jason Netter and Kickstart Entertainment to find investors and make the movie without NHO and Animus during the terms of the exclusive deal," the suit maintains.
The plaintiffs are suing World Events for breach of contract, fraud and interference with their contractual relations. They are seeking multiple forms of damages.
According to a spokesperson for World Events and Kickstart "this lawsuit is frivolous and without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously," they added "fortunately, these baseless claims do not in any way encumber the film or any other Voltron project, and we are excited to proceed on the long-awaited Voltron feature film with our partner Atlas."
The producers claim that they began work on the project in 2004. They say they brought on writers, sought financing and clearing a chain of title for Voltron.
While this was going on, they say World Events and Kickstart were trying to sell the project to others behind their backs. The producers maintain that they have not been properly compensated for the work they did for World Events.
Last July, Charles Roven's Atlas Entertainment picked up rights to put together a Voltron feature. Currently, the plaintiffs are not contesting the ability of World Events or Kickstart "to sell the property at that point, and a suit probably won't threaten a feature."
"We want the movie to get made," plaintiff Young offered. "We just want to make sure we're involved in some way and are compensated."