Frank Darabont, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind The Shawshank Redemption, was a key figure in bringing The Walking Dead to AMC way back in 2010. A few years later though, the showrunner and executive producer realized he wasn’t compensated properly for his stake in the show, and a lawsuit was filed.
Well, multiple lawsuits and several twists and turns later, AMC has now agreed to pay a $200 million settlement to Darabont over his dispute, which claimed the network “had used shady accounting to short them on profits,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The news was revealed as part of AMC’s report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “The Settlement Agreement provides for a cash payment of $200 million (the ‘Settlement Payment’) to the plaintiffs and future revenue sharing related to certain future streaming exhibition of The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead,” the statement reads. It later revealed $143 million of it was for “the extinguishment of Plaintiffs’ rights to any compensation in connection with The Walking Dead and any related programs and the dismissal of the actions” and that $57 million was for “ordinary course accrued participations.” Basically, AMC was paying $200 million to settle past, and cover any future, earnings Darabont would have made on the show.
Which is, obviously, a lot of money. But it’s also just the settlement. Though this case is now over, that means, hypothetically, if this lawsuit made it further down the road and AMC was eventually found to have actually lied about these things, it probably would have had to pay way more. (At one point Darabont said $280 million.) And that’s just a hint at how incredibly profitable this show has been, and continues to be. Plus, this isn’t the end for the network. Original comic creator Robert Kirkman has a similar lawsuit that’s still pending.
The Walking Dead returns next month with the first part of its 11th, and final, season.
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