Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed the project as a miniseries for ABC, and stayed on through pre-production. They left the company after it merged with Lorimar, and were given a company credit on the miniseries, which aired in 1990.
According to the lawsuit, the pair signed a deal with Lorimar that made them “non exclusive executive producers,” with backend participation and rights to involvement in any sequel, spinoff or remake of the show.
The suit alleges that Warner Bros. stopped issuing profit statements in 1995, and never consulted either producer about the film adaptations. “It” was released in 2017, which grossed $700 million worldwide. “It: Chapter Two” is due out in September.
The suit also claims they are entitled to 10% of net profits of any remake, which the suit alleges would amount to tens of millions of dollars.
Konigsberg died in 2016, at the age of 83. Sanitsky, 67, is pursuing the case through the partners’ corporate entities. Their companies are represented by Dale Kinsella, of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump and Aldisert.
The suit also accuses Warner Bros. of shortchanging them on profit participation from the miniseries. In March, the studio issued its first participation statement in 24 years, showing that the producers were owed $1 million. The suit claims that Warner Bros. has substantially underreported profits and improperly withheld payments.
Warner Bros. declined to comment.
In the early 90s, Konigsberg and Sanitsky also produced the TV adaption of “The Tommyknockers.” Sanitsky is now working on a film adaptation of the project.