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'Bring It On: The Musical' is in a spirited legal tussle

Is the new play based on the 2000 motion picture 'Bring It On'? Screenwriter Jessica Bendinger believes it is and has enlisted the help of the Writers Guild of America and attorneys.

September 16, 2011|By David Ng, Los Angeles Times

An arbitration session for the Writers Guild and Beacon is expected to take place in February, according to Neville Johnson, Bendinger's attorney. He said claims such as this are uncommon in the world of entertainment, though he mentioned a similar dispute in 2000 involving a screenwriter for the movie "Waterworld" and a Universal theme-park show that shared its name. In that situation, he said, arbitration proved favorably for the screenwriter.

The "Bring It On" decision could end up being an important one as more Hollywood properties are being turned into stage musicals. Some recent film-to-stage adaptations show how complicated apportioning writing credits can be. The credits for the Broadway musical "Legally Blonde" state that the show is based on the novel by Amanda Brown as well as the 2001 movie. "Sister Act," currently on Broadway, lists the screenwriter for the original 1992 movie among its credits.

Bendinger said she would allow the "Bring It On" musical to proceed if she is properly credited and compensated.

A favorable decision for Bendinger would be too late to affect the L.A. leg of the "Bring It On" tour, which concludes in December. But the show is scheduled to travel to other cities through April.

david.ng@latimes.com

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