EXCLUSIVE: “That’s how you’re gonna beat ’em, Butch,” says Bruce Willis’ pugilistic character in Pulp Fiction. “They keep underestimating you,” the Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery penned script adds.
Today those words from the 1994 flick at the heart of a lawsuit between Miramax and Tarantino seem prophetic as the Oscar winner basically told his former studio Christopher Walken-style to stick their legal action of last month where the sun don’t shine.
“Now a shell of its former self and flailing under a new ownership consortium, Miramax has decided to bite the hand that fed it for so many years by bringing this offensively meritless lawsuit,” said Tarantino’s lawyers Thursday in a move to have the breach of contract and copyright infringement tossed out.
Back on November 17, the now Bill Block-run Miramax filed a jury trial seeking complaint against the iconic director in federal court over Tarantino’s announced intention in early November to auction off as NFTs seven “exclusive scenes” from his hand-written Pulp Fiction script.
“Left unchecked, Tarantino’s conduct could mislead others into believing Miramax is involved in his venture,” the 22-page suit from attorneys at Proskauer Rose LLP stated. “And it could also mislead others into believing they have the rights to pursue similar deals or offerings, when in fact Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to its deep film library.”
In a quick verbal response on the same day the action was put in the district court docket, Tarantino’s lawyer Bryan Freedman said that the suit is “ham-fisted” and “Miramax is wrong – plain and simple.” Today’s official reaction was very much in the same vein, with even more verbal pyrotechnics.
“As Miramax knows well, Tarantino has every right to publish portions of his original handwritten screenplay for Pulp Fiction, a personal creative treasure that he has kept private for decades,” the 19-page answer just filed today from Freedman & Taitelman LLP and Irell & Manella LLP exclaims.
“Tarantino’s contracts clearly and unambiguously grant him the opportunity to do so – those rights were carefully identified, bargained for and memorialized – and Miramax in its prior incarnation freely agreed,” Tarantino’s lawyers punctuated of the deal he struck back in the day with the then Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein founded company. “But now, the new Miramax implausibly attempts to use the concept of NFTs to confuse the public and mislead this Court in an effort to deny artists such as Tarantino their hard earned and long-standing rights.”
“Fortunately, Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction contracts are clear, as is the law, and this ill-conceived lawsuit will not succeed in preventing Tarantino from exercising his contractual rights.”
No hearing dates have been set yet, but the matter has been assigned to District Judge Fernando M. Olguin.
Usually a case like this would fade away with a quiet settlement, as the court encouraged the parties early on via its alternative dispute resolution program. However, with tempers and potential long-term consequences high and looking to get medieval on each other’s asses, don’t underestimate the distinct possibility of Tarantino and Miramax to face-off in court next year in one form or another …when currently lucrative NFTs may have waned in the art world and otherwise, or not.