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Tribune Sues Marvel After Fox Dispute

October 31, 2003|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

Tribune Entertainment on Thursday sued Marvel Enterprises Inc. for $100 million, claiming the comic book publisher made "fraudulent and negligent" statements that doomed Tribune's "Mutant X" TV series.

Tribune alleges that it has lost millions of dollars defending itself after 20th Century Fox Film Corp. sued two years ago to stop Tribune's planned TV spinoff of two comic book series, Marvel's 1963 "X-Men" and "Mutant X" in 1998. Fox also held rights to the mutants, producing a hit movie, "X-Men," with Marvel in 2000.

In its 2001 suit, Fox said the Tribune show violated its rights.

Marvel Chief Executive Allen Lipson did not return calls late Thursday seeking comment.

Marvel executives, according to the lawsuit Tribune filed in New York Supreme Court, had maintained that Fox did not have any rights to a TV show. But Marvel refused to provide copies of the Fox contract, the suit said.

Tribune Entertainment is a Los Angeles subsidiary of Chicago-based Tribune Co., which also publishes The Times.

It wasn't until early 2001, after Tribune had sold the show to TV stations in 125 markets, that it discovered the extent of Fox's rights, the lawsuit said. Fox and Tribune settled their dispute this month.

Tribune now alleges that the success of "Mutant X" was crippled because Tribune had to change characters and plot lines to distance the show from "X-Men."

"Tribune has not realized any profit at all from the production and distribution of 'Mutant X' but has instead lost millions of dollars," the suit said.

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