Sony Named in Suit Over 'Spider-Man'

Times Staff Writer

Filmmaker Ted Newsom filed a lawsuit Monday accusing Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures of illegally using his 17-year-old screenplay as the basis for "Spider-Man," a live-action movie released last year that took in more than $400 million in the U.S. He is seeking at least $31.25 million in damages.

According to the suit, Columbia had access to a Spider-Man script written by Newsom with John Brancato for Cannon Films in 1985. That script became the basis for a key draft by high-profile screenwriter David Koepp, who ultimately received the writing credit, the suit says. Newsom asked the court to include Brancato as an involuntary plaintiff.

Newsom also said Columbia blocked the Writers Guild of America from awarding him a credit by leaving his name out of documents filed with the guild.

Newsom has been the writer and director of such low-budget films as "Wolfman Chronicles" and "Monsters & Maniacs."

Columbia spokesman Steve Elzer said the studio would not comment on pending litigation.

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