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Paramount is Being Sued Over ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Rights

Truman Capote charity claims rights.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

A Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed on Wednesday against Paramount Pictures. The rights to Truman Capote’s 1958 novellaBreakfast at Tiffany’s,” which serves as the basis of the 1961 film of the same name (starring Audrey Hepburn), is the subject of the new lawsuit.

A charity trust was set up by Capote years before his death in 1984. Now, the lawsuit argues the rights to develop a prequel, sequel or television series inspired by the classic 1961 film is owned by the trust. Alan Schwartz, the trustee of the charity, claims that rights to the 1958 novella reverted to Capote’s executor after his death and then was transferred to the charity.

“In 1991, Plaintiff and the Capote Estate entered into an agreement with Paramount, whereby Paramount optioned certain sequel and prequel rights, among others, with respect to the film,” states the complaint. “The agreement provided that, if a motion picture was not produced within a certain amount of time, the rights would revert back to Plaintiff.”

Since no film was made, Schwartz claims the rights are back with the trust. According to the complaint, Paramount “claims that no reversion occurred, that it had the right, but not the obligation, to produce the film, and that it purchased this right for $300,000.00,”

The lawsuit further details that the Capote charity has been engaging with numerous producers about a potential “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” television series. The charity says it has gotten numerous bids for rights with the backend; however, negotiations have come to a halt after objections from Paramount. According to the complaint, Paramount claims it intends to do a feature project and sell the project to a streaming platform.

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