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Warren Beatty vs. The Tribune

By Scott Smith in News on May 18, 2005 1:59PM

Chicagoist doesn’t mind sequels. Superman II was a formative experience for us, The Empire Strikes Back was awesome and hell, we even liked Rush Hour II. But then there are the sequels that no one seems to be asking for. Like Highlander II. And a sequel to Dick Tracy.

Yet this isn’t stopping Warren Beatty from taking on The Man—in this 2005_05_18_tracy.jpgcase, the Tribune Company. Beatty is claiming that the Tribune Co. is preventing him from making a sequel to his 1990 film Dick Tracy. Through an agreement reached in 1985, Beatty was granted rights to the character by the Trib in order to make the movie. He, in turn, gave the rights to Disney who produced the film. However, Beatty was required to return said rights at the Tribune’s request through a two-year notification process. According to the AP, the Tribune tried to take back the rights to the character from Disney but failed to follow the contract so Mickey said bite me and gave most of the rights back to Beatty. So now Beatty is suing the Trib for $30 million dollars.

Wait, what? If Beatty already has the rights then why is he suing to get them back? The picture becomes clearer after reading this article in Variety. It seems that the Tribune Co. is proceeding as if it still retains the rights and is taking its own stab at resurrecting the Tracy character in a contemporary police drama. Oh, thank goodness because they’re just aren’t enough of those. Producers say they “want to give the TV series a contemporary feel, comparable to what Smallville has done with the Superman franchise.” So if the series makes it past all the legal wrangling, expect a solid season and a half of quality storylines before Dick Tracy’s evil twin shows up and Tess Trueheart switches bodies with B.O. Plenty.

So to sum up (and with a nod to Defamer): Warren Beatty—-has a Dick and wants to make a movie about it. Tribune Company—-thinks it has a Dick and wants to make a TV show about it. American moviegoing public: thinks Beatty is a dick for making Town and Country. AP: lazy-ass reporting. Chicagoist: loves beating a lame joke into the ground.