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Legal Battle Continues Over Tupac Biopic

After months of legal mudslinging over production rights to the long-awaited Tupac Shakur biopic, a trial date has been set for the case. But don’t expect to see big box office returns anytime soon. The court date settling solely the rights to the Tupac film is scheduled for 2010, postponing any filming for the biopic into the way distant future.

In February, film studio giant Morgan Creek Productions filed a suit against Amaru Entertainment, the production company belonging to Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur. The studio alleged that the company had halted film negotiations and was “refusing to honor and perform a contract for a film based on the life story of Tupac Shakur.”

Amaru Entertainment responded by filing a counter-suit, stating that there was no binding agreement between the two companies and accusing Morgan Creek of hindering progress with other interested movie studios such as Fox and Paramount. In court documents, Amaru blamed Morgan Creek for “intentional misrepresentations of fact to third-party studios claiming to own the film rights and threatening them to back off on further negotiations with Amaru Entertainment.”

Morgan Creek Productions made legal moves to have the counter-suit dismissed, but on Tuesday (Sept. 1) Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard E. Rico upheld Amaru Entertainment’s claim and set an April 13, 2010 trial date for the case. After the ruling, Amaru Entertainment’s lawyer, Skip Miller, expressed his satisfaction with the company’s first victory in the battle. “We are pleased with the court’s ruling … It supports our claim that Morgan Creek tortiously interfered with the making of the Tupac Shakur movie,” he said. “I look forward to trying this case and have the jury decide the matter. Morgan Creek has a history of bullying people into giving them rights they did not acquire. This time, they picked on the wrong people.”

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