Stan Lee's recent cameos in his characters' films (as well as, memorably, Mallrats) have suggested a kindly old man, distinguished mainly by wearing the sort of giant sunglasses your grandparents put on to drive. However, the company that bears his name is a different story. Stan Lee Media, Inc., founded by Lee in 2001, has a long history of litigation, and news broke Friday that the company is suing over the new Conan the Barbarian movie.
Stan Lee Media, Inc., is seeking to have a judge rule that it is still the rightful owner of the character Conan the Barbarian. A lawsuit filed August 19 claims that the company's 2001 bankruptcy filing should have prevented anyone from taking away the rights to its Conan character.
SLMI claims that the company was betrayed by a former lawyer, who transferred the rights to another company which would later green-light this summer's remake. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we conspire to reboot.
The suit is demanding that Nu Image/Millennium Films be "ordered to turn over any money or property derived from the success of the character, including the newest film," and that the rights to the Conan character revert back to the company, which is ironic, considering that the character was originally created in the 1930s by Robert E. Howard, when Stan Lee was still in elementary school.
Conan earned $10 million on its first weekend, barely beating the debut of the original Conan the Barbarian in 1982, and garnered dismal reviews. The film's budget was approximately $90 million, according to the Los Angeles Times, so, yeah, good luck with trying to jack the profits of a film that hasn't yet broken even.