Enola Holmes lawsuit

Welcome, welcome, welcome, one and all, to today’s movie lawsuit round-up extravaganza! Can it be an extravaganza if there are only two lawsuits? Let’s not worry about the specifics! Netflix’s Enola Holmes, a movie about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister, and Warner Bros.’ King Richard, a biopic of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams’ father, have both had suits filed against them. But the Enola Holmes lawsuit is actually kind of hilarious, and you can find out why below.

enola holmes

Enola Holmes Lawsuit

Some quick background: Enola Holmes is a movie based on a series of books by author Nancy Springer which focus on the title character, the much younger sister of famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Naturally, Enola follows in her brother’s footsteps and becomes a young detective herself. Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola, Henry Cavill plays Sherlock, and Helena Bonham Carter plays Enola’s mother. Harry Bradbeer (Fleabag) is directing from a script by Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials).

Variety reports that the estate of original Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle has filed a lawsuit claiming that the movie infringes on stories that remain under copyright. While the character of Holmes and most of his stories are in the public domain, there are still a few years’ worth of stories that are protected under copyright. The lawsuit claims that Enola Holmes depicts Sherlock as a warm and friendly – aspects of the character that they say weren’t present until those later-era stories which are still protected. Essentially, the estate is saying this movie’s version of Sherlock should be more of a dick, which I find incredibly amusing.

It’s probably worth pointing out that the Doyle estate argued the same thing about the 2015 movie Mr. Holmes, which saw Ian McKellen star as an older Sherlock who is decidedly more empathetic than the cold, calculating, purely logic-driven man from the early Doyle stories. That suit was settled out of court, and I imagine the same thing will happen here.

Will Smith biopic

King Richard Lawsuit

Will Smith is set to play Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena, in King Richard, which is written by Zach Baylin and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. The lawsuit against this movie isn’t nearly as funny as the Enola Holmes suit – this one seems to be a lot more complicated.

Deadline has the details, but it appears to shake down like this: two companies, TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multi Media, say they bought the screen rights to Richard Williams’ memoir three years ago for $10,000, and they’re arguing that Warner Bros. knew they had the rights when the studio purchased the script for King Richard for $1 million a couple of years back. Now these smaller companies are suggesting that WB and the other companies involved with making this movie owe them compensation because King Richard uses “ideas or materials” that are found in the memoir.

King Richard is supposed to hit theaters in 2021, so we’ll see if this lawsuit becomes a major problem or if this gets swept away with bags of cash and just becomes a weird footnote on the movie’s eventual Wikipedia page.

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