Way back in 2014, we reported that Warner Brothers had successfully dodged a couple of lawsuits related to its then-fledgling Conjuring series, but now The Hollywood Reporter says yet another lawsuit has materialized right behind the studio, and this one might be a bit harder to exorcise.
The suit is looking for $900 million in damages, and it comes from Gerald Brittle, the author behind a 1980 book called The Demonologist that told the stories of famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren—who also happen to be the main protagonists of the Conjuring movies. In the “massive 355-page” complaint, Brittle claims that he has the exclusive rights to “create derivative works based on the Warrens’ cases,” which he secured in 1978 when the couple agreed not to allow for any “competing work” to be made that was also based on their lives. So, according to the lawsuit, Lorraine Warren had no right to grant Warner Bros. permission to use her old case files to make the Conjuring movies.
That all seems like pretty standard lawsuit stuff, but Brittle’s argument also features a fun twist. Apparently, his attorneys sent a cease and desist notice to Warner Bros. and the Conjuring producers before the release of The Conjuring 2, but the studio claimed that the supernatural horror movies are actually based on “historical facts” and not The Demonologist. However, Brittle says that argument doesn’t hold any water because the Warrens spent years lying about what happened in their many adventures, and the movies can’t be based on historical facts because ghosts aren’t real. In other words, a $900 million lawsuit against The Conjuring hinges on the fact that ghosts don’t exist.
Of course, a crucial part of a lawsuit like this is proving that Warner Bros. and Conjuring director James Wan were aware of the existence of The Demonologist before they made the original movie in 2013, but Brittle and his attorneys seem to already have that one in the bag: