‘Spiderman’ Producers Bring Countersuit Against Ex-Director Julie Taymor

Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris, the producers of “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” have filed a countersuit against former director Julie Taymor, a move that, if successful, would essentially remove her from any future dealings with “Spiderman” or its earnings. The filing is in response to Taylor’s own filings last year suing the producers of the play for $1 million, as well as for future royalty payments.

According to the New York Times, the new 66-page filing on behalf of the produces states that Taymor, a Tony winner best known for her work on “The Lion King,” was fired from the musical in March because she was in breach of her contract. They claim that the revamped show that is now being produced under a new director was developed by others, and that Taymor has no claim to proceeds from the new show.

“Taymor refused to develop a musical that followed the original, family-friendly ‘Spider-Man’ story which was depicted in the Marvel comic books and the hugely successful motion picture trilogy based on them,” wrote lawyers for the producers in the suit. “When the producers fired Ms. Taymor as the director of “Spider-Man,” they complained that she had refused to make significant changes to the script and staging that they believed were necessary for the show to become an audience hit.”

“Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” has been making headlines since production began. Previews for the original version directed by Taymor opened to generally negative reviews, and the production was shut down to revamp, finally opening on June 14, 2011 under the direction of Philip William McKinley. The new version received slightly better reviews and has gone on to be immensely commercially successful.

The show recently earned the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history. The show is noted as being the most expensive Broadway performance ever, and is said to have cost $75 million to produce. In addition, the show carries a weekly running cost of $1 million.