Warren Beatty Fighting Tribune for Rights to ‘Dick Tracy’

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By: E&P Staff

Warren Beatty’s effort to get the rights to Dick Tracy so he can make a sequel to his 1990 movie continues to drag on.

A hearing in federal court on whether the actor/director owns the film rights to the Dick Tracy comic book character has ended without a ruling. The judge didn’t indicate when he would make a ruling.

Beatty, now 69, produced, directed and starred as the gadgety detective in a 1990 movie released by The Walt Disney Co. It drew mixed reviews and co-starred Madonna.

He sued Tribune Media Services last year claiming he owns the film rights as the result of a deal he made in 1985.

Tribune Media Services has argued it holds the film rights to the character. The company is a division of Chicago-based Tribune Co.

Other producers have said they want to do a Dick Tracy TV series.

Dick Tracy was created by cartoonist Chester Gould in 1931. The strip, which made its debut appearance on October 4th, 1931, was distributed by what was then called the Chicago Tribune Syndicate. Gould wrote and drew the strip until 1977.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson ruled the new lawsuit could go forward. On Monday, Pregerson heard arguments on Tribune’s motion to rule on its behalf. Beatty wasn’t in the courtroom.

Maura Wogan, a Tribune Co. lawyer, argued that a deal Beatty made with Disney to reserve rights to make a Tracy film required permission from Tribune to be valid.
Beatty’s lawyer, Bert Fields, argued his client didn’t need consent to reserve the rights.

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