What’s actually wrong with the Weinsteins? Part Two: Escape From Planet Earth

In a series of posts I attempt to tackle the question ‘What’s actually wrong with the Weinsteins?’ and to document instances of their (possibly) negative effect on the film industry.
Read Part One here.

Written and directed by Tony Leech and produced by Brian Inerfeld, Escape From Planet Earth was set to be a new animated film distributed by The Weinstein Company.

But now Escape From Planet Earth is a new animated film directed by Carl Brunker “from a story written by Brunker and Bob Barlen based on an original screenplay by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards.” In a rather strange case of shifting authorship the project has moved from Leech to Brunker and Leech, and Inerfeld appear to be less than satisfied with the situation.

A recent write-up at The Hollywood Reporter goes some way to sheddding some light on the current situation,

…Leech claims that the Weinsteins repeatedly rejected script and forced him to rewrite it no fewer than 17 times. The Weinstein Co. also allegedly interfered with his choice of casting Kevin Bacon, paying the actor to walk away. And as the budget purportedly ballooned with 200-plus animators on payroll, the Weinsteins supposedly mortgaged its copyright on Escape to obtain fresh capital. Leech and Inerfeld say they were told they would have to give up gross participation to get their film released.

The lawsuit surrounding the film reportedly claims that the Weinsteins were,

two out-of-control movie executives … who sabotaged what should have been a highly profitable movie through a potent combination of hubris, incompetence, profligate spending and contempt for contractual obligations.

The Hollywood Reporter piece is not optimistic about there being a swift and amiable resolution to this dispute but it was written to coincide with a special private screening of the film.

The film being shown, and presumably the one that will eventually receive a wide release, is reportedly Brunker’s film. What remains of Leech’s film will be up for the courts to decide but one thing is for sure, audiences are never going to see the film he intended to make.