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BRIEFLY / COMPANY TOWN ANNEX

Firm Wins Lawsuit Against 20th Century Fox

March 07, 2001|Reuters

A small Detroit publishing firm won a $19-million lawsuit against 20th Century Fox after a jury in Michigan agreed that the movie studio had stolen the script for a hit Christmas movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Murray Hill Publications claimed in the lawsuit that the script for the 1996 movie "Jingle All the Way" bore a remarkable resemblance to the screenplay "Could This Be Christmas?" written by high school teacher Brian Alan Webster. The screenwriter for "Jingle All the Way," listed as Ed McQueen, was actually an alias for Randy Kornfield, a script reader at 20th Century Fox, said Mayer Morganroth, a lawyer for the publishing firm. Murray Hill, which bought the rights to Webster's screenplay, pitched it to several movie studios, including 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp., in 1993 without finding any interest. Soon after, 20th Century Fox purchased the rights to "Jingle All the Way," which grossed $80 million at the box office and through video sales. Lawyers and officials for 20th Century Fox did not return telephone calls from Reuters seeking comment.

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