Warner Bros.’ Conjuring franchise has a handful of recurring villains, and one of them is Valak the Demon Nun. Played by Bonnie Aarons, Valak first appeared in 2016's The Conjuring 2, then got boosted to primary star status with her own sub-series, whose second installment is set to hit theaters in a few weeks.
But according to the Hollywood Reporter, Aarons had found that WB has spent years allegedly shorting her on the profits from merchandising (like posters and dolls) with her face, and she’s taking them to court for breach of contract. WB, along with New Line Cinema and Scope Productions reportedly struck an agreement with Aarons that saw her get paid $71,500 for the original The Nun movie that hit in 2018. That movie earned $365.6 million, but due to the language of her contract, it’s claimed she earned $175,000 in a bonus tied to the film’s box office in addition to a share of profits from merch that bore her likeness. According to the filed complaint, a similar deal is in place for other Conjuring stars “whose name or likeness are used in the particular merchandising item.”
Aarons claims the statements from WB were “inconsistent with the extensive merchandising activities” for her character, and that the studio only provided her “a fraction of the known licenses” on a spreadsheet. Her representatives worked to get better documentation from WB prior to the suit, but it’s claimed that the studio didn’t respond to those requests “substantively.” These efforts started in May 2019 and continued all the way through December 2022, and the complaint notes that WB’s actions prove it “did not act fairly or in good faith.” After the single PDF spreadsheet was provided in mid-December 2022, Aarons elected to bring a claim forward, which is set to go through this Monday, August 21. Along with prejudgment rates, she’s reportedly seeking “actual and compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at the trial.”
The Nun II, in which Aarons will reprise her role as Valak, will release in theaters on September 8. The full complaint can be read here.
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