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Disney Getting Sued…Over Muppets!

Filed under: Legal MattersDisneyBusiness Blitz

disney being sued over muppets

Hopefully Disney can work all of this out before that next Muppets movie is released!

Former Married…With Children executive producer Russell Marcus has filed a lawsuit against Disney/Jim Henson Co./The Muppets Studio, claiming they haven't paid him royalties for coming up with the idea of a Muppet Workshop.

For those of you who haven't experienced the magic of a Muppet Workshop, it's kind of like a Build-A-Bear Workshop, only you build Muppets instead of bears (well, unless you build Fozzie…)

Marcus claims he signed an agreement in 1998 to become more involved with the "Muppet brand," and then in 2000 he pitched the Muppet Workshop concept, and a year after that Henson signed a written agreement with him which ensured that he'd get 2.5% of royalties from Muppet Workshop-related profits.

After Disney bought the Muppets though, they started placing Muppet Workshops in FAO Schwartz and then Disney theme parks. When Marcus asked about them, he says Disney claimed they haven't profited from the workshops.

Marcus is NOT convinced though, and he's suing Disney for "breach of contract, fraud and deceit, and unjust enrichment," and he's demanding compensatory damages.

Sorry to hear it, Marcus. If you in fact came up with the idea, we completely understand how you'd want the proper monetary compensation….but as Kermit says, it's not easy being making green.

[Image via WENN.]

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First Images Released From Upcoming 3D Stop-Motion Pinocchio Movie

Filed under: Film FlickersDisneyPhotos!

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Check out the first images (above) from the upcoming 3D, stop-motion Pinocchio movie.

Last we heard, Warner Bros was working on a live action version of the classic tale.

In the meanwhile, The Hobbit Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro has teamed up with The Jim Henson Company and Pathe on this edgy version of the Disney classic that draws heavily from a 2002 Pinocchio book, which was illustrated by Gris Grimly.

Grimly will co-direct with Mark Gustafson, and production will start up later this year.

Here's what del Toro had to say about the project:

“There has to be darkness in any fairy tale or children’s narrative work, something the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney understood. We tend to call something Disney-fied, but a lot of people forget how powerfully disturbing the best animated Disney movies are, including those kids being turned into donkeys in Pinocchio. What we’re trying to do is present a Pinocchio that is more faithful to the take that Collodi wrote. That is more surreal and slightly darker than what we’ve seen before.”

More from del Toro:

"The Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit. Pinocchio has strange moments of lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations, with black rabbits. The sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio was actually a giant dogfish, which allows for more classical scale and design. The many mishaps Pinocchio goes through include several near-death close calls, a lot more harrowing moments. The key with this is not making any of it feel gratuitous, because the story is integrated with moments of comedy and beauty. He’s one of the great characters, whose purity and innocence allows him to survive in this bleak landscape of robbers and thugs, emerging from the darkness with his soul intact.”

This is exactly what we'd expect from the guy who brought us Pan's Labyrinth, and we're feeling good about it!

Besides, it couldn't POSSIBLY be any worse than the 1996 Jonathan Taylor Thomas Pinocchio movie. Oh, JTT…

What do U think? Are U intrigued by this dark, creepy take on Pinocchio?

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