It’s like the Watchmen battle all over again! Sort of! Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company filed dueling lawsuits yesterday over Sundance-celebrated film Push, with both studios claiming sole theatrical rights to the heart-wrenching drama about an obese and illiterate Harlem teenager who is abused by her mother and becomes impregnated by her father (twice!). According to a lawyer for the Weinstein Company, “TWC reached a firm agreement for the rights… Behind their backs Cinetic Media tried to make a better deal with Lionsgate. Lionsgate was well aware of the TWC contract but went forward anyway.”
Coincidentally, today Push is also the subject of a Times story (“Wrenching Film Poses Marketing Challenge”), which posits that Lionsgate probably won’t even be able to make back the movie’s $5.5 million budget, even though it has a freaking endorsement FROM OPRAH (“One veteran studio marketer, who would speak only anonymously because he has ties to Lionsgate, said he saw almost no hope in selling it to a broad audience”).
(Also, the Times notes that Lionsgate initially agreed to an interview about Push’s marketing challenges, then backtracked and only wanted to talk about its “delight in nabbing the movie,” and finally rescinded its offer for an interview altogether. (We suspect this might’ve had something to do with the lawsuits.)
So which studio will win the right to distribute Push in like, five theaters? How much additional money will the film lose now that its budget might include a protracted legal battle? Also, who owns the sequel rights?