Some authors tied to big film franchises such as Star Wars are in a heated dispute with Disney, which they say refuses to pay royalties on book contracts it absorbed in the $4 billion Lucasfilm deal.
Novelists tied to big film franchises stopped receiving checks after Disney acquired Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox. Royalty checks are a reward for creativity. If you write a book, compose a song, or feature your creative works in entertainment you make money. Royalty checks may come quarterly, twice a year or annually, depending on your contract.
In 1976, Alan Dean Foster wrote the novelization to a movie called “Star Wars.” The movie and the book turned out to be major planet shattering hits and royalty checks flowed for decades. Then Disney bought Lucasfilm and the checks stopped. Now Foster is taking on the Empire.
Writers tied to projects like Indiana Jones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have also come forward with similar stories of royalty checks that stopped after Disney acquired the properties.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the amount of money at stake is minuscule to a company of Disney’s size but monumental to the writers seeking the funds. Disney has continually created profit seeking projects under Lucasfilm collectively grossing nearly $6 billion at the world-wide box office. The company also earns streamer revenue due to titles being available on their platform, Disney+. According to the writers filing suit, Disney has delayed dealing with their complaints and bilked the novelists on cheap royalty checks that rarely total a few thousand bucks apiece.
If a resolution is not reached, the writers association could put Disney on a “Writer Beware” list of publishers it tells its members to avoid.