November 10, 2009 / 10:10 PM / 9 years ago

Judge revives Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The legal fight over rights to comic legend Dick Tracy is back on.

Actor Warren Beatty arrives at the taping of the American Film Institute's 36th Life Achievement Award gala honoring Beatty at the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, California June 12, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware on Monday lifted a stay that prevented actor Warren Beatty from suing Tribune Media Services over movie and television rights to the famous detective character.

Beatty bought rights to Dick Tracy from Tribune in 1985 and directed and starred in a 1990 Dick Tracy film. However, Tribune claimed that Beatty made no productive use of his rights for more than a decade, and under the rights agreement, this meant that they reverted to Tribune, which originally published the comic in the 1930s.

Last November, Beatty sued Tribune in California court, arguing that he was in the midst of producing a television special on Dick Tracy. The following month, Tribune declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, freezing claims by creditors. In March, Tribune claimed in bankruptcy court that Beatty had begun work on a TV special only to preserve his rights and that the property was worth potentially millions of dollars to its creditors.

Delaware bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey is now allowing both parties to pursue their claims.

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