Update: Martin Luther King Jr. in new battle
It was just yesterday we heard of Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks picking up the rights to develop a film about Martin Luther King Jr., and those rights came from the King estate itself after a lengthy attempt to attain them while the King family fought amongst each other for the estate rights, and presumably the money.
Well somehow DreamWorks managed to attain them. At least for now, for a new story today reveals that the infighting between the great man's children is now spreading to the film itself and to DreamWorks, with word that they are threatening legal action.
Bernice King and Martin Luther King III have been in legal battles for some time with their brother Dexter King over the rights to the estate. Dexter King is the current man in charge of the King estate and he is the one that gave the rights to DreamWorks, however the other two children don't believe that's true.
“This is a deal that Mr. Spielberg and his people ... have entered into believing that they have the blessing of the King Estate. They don't have the blessings of Bernice and Martin King.”
Well I'm no legal expert but if they don't have control of the estate, they don't have control of the rights, and that's why the story from Variety says that DreamWorks are more than happy with the current state of the project.
Although I don't see this stopping the film from being made, I do see some infighting causing a few delays and perhaps some distribution of payments. You have to wonder though what Martin Luther King Jr. would make of these events.
Update: DreamWorks aren't just about moraility in their films it seems, and rather than race forward with the Martin Luther King Jr. film they're wanting his kids to show unity first. Here's a superb quote through the The Hollywood Reporter from a DreamWorks spokesperson:
"The purpose of making a movie about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to tell a great story which could bridge distances and bring people together...We remain committed to pursuing a film chronicling Martin Luther King's life provided that there is unity in the family so we can make a film about unity in our nation. We believe this is what Dr. King would have wanted."
Wow! Some level headed business sense combined with a strong morality, good going DreamWorks, I do applaud that statemtent and hope that the King family see this and wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would have made of these events himself.