Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, November 9, 2020

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' follow-up plans now the subject of a legal dispute with Paramount and Truman Capote estate

Breakfast-at-tiffanys1The initial plans to provide a follow up of Breakfast at Tiffany's have come under scrutiny as the studio will not green light a new project. Apparently, the right to create a sequel, prequel, or tv series has brought on a tense legal battle. 

"According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, the issue comes down to ownership of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella that the movie was based on. Before he died, Capote reportedly set up a charitable trust that named Alan Schwartz as the trustee."

When Capote died in 1984, his estate entered into an agreement with Paramount Pictures that allowed the studio "to motion a new project based on the book." However, the agreement placed a time limit on the studio's right to develop a project. The expiration of the time limit would restore the right back to Schwartz. 

The plaintiff in the case claims that the studio no longer has a right over the property other than the profit of the original movie, asserting that the studio missed its window to develop any project related to Breakfast at Tiffany's. Paramount responded by claiming that it still has the rights to the movie because it was under "no obligation to produce a film and spent $300,000 for the right to have that option." 

"Apparently the charity and Paramount have been in negotiations as the former is fielding numerous, potentially lucrative bids to produce something. However, the studio has raised its objections and allegedly will settle for nothing short of a motion picture. As a result of that and the legal dispute, all negotiations are reportedly stalled." 

See Tyler McCarthy, 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' follow-up plans now the subject of a legal dispute with Paramount and Truman Capote estate, Fox Business, November 5, 2020. 


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