Former child actor and pretend nerd Wil Wheaton is suing Legendary Geek & Sundry. According to Wheaton, they hired him to create, write, and produce a web series called Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Legendary agreed to pay him $50,000 and 50 percent of the net profits from the show.
Wheaton claims Legendary was supposed to “consult meaningfully” with him before distributing and promoting the web series. He claims they failed to do that.
Legendary negotiated license agreements with Sinclair Broadcasting, Hulu, and Pluto TV. They did this without consulting Wheaton. He claims Legendary owes him 50 percent of the net profits from those license agreements. Because Legendary refuses to allow Wheaton to see its books, he has no way of knowing how much they owe him.
Far be it for me to question the business savvy of Wil Wheaton, but agreeing to 50 percent of the “net” profit seems like a recipe for getting ripped off. Hollywood is infamous for cooking the books in a way that shows movies never turn a profit. I’m sure they use the same fuzzy math when licensing a web series.
Wheaton is asking for $100,00 in damages. He also wants the court to force Legendary to let him see their books. I’m no lawyer, but I think that would be part of discovery if and when the lawsuit is permitted to proceed. My guess is they will not want to do that. Wheaton knows this and is most likely anticipating they will offer him money to drop the lawsuit. Most lawsuits end with an out-of-court settlement. I expect this lawsuit to be no different.
I have to wonder if suing a company that hired him to create a web series will be a costly career-wise for Wheaton. Companies may be less willing to partner with him in the future. I’m guessing that would be… bad. Without web shows such as Wheaton’s TableTop, how will people know how to play table-top games incorrectly?