A New York playwright has lost his bid to get Barbershop: The Next Cut pulled from the cinema after a judge threw out his lawsuit. Ronald Dickerson, known as JD Lawrence, had sued Warner Bros and Showtime, claiming that the film is a rip-off of his stage play, Scissors.
Lawrence had alleged that Ice Cube's star-studded film, and the Showtime TV series, takes some of its scenes from the play which he wrote and toured across America from 1998 to 2001. Documents noted similarities in characters, plot lines, and events. For example the Barbershop is set in Chicago and centres on the importance of the shop in affecting change in the community and his play was also set in an African-American neighbourhood.
He asked for least $20m (£14m) in damages and also sought an injunction to block the release of the third instalment in the series of comedies, which is scheduled for release in the US on 15 April.
A representative for distributors MGM and Warner Bros slammed the lawsuit as "frivolous claims" of an opportunist trying to discredit the gifted writers, producers, and directors. "We will vigorously defend against these frivolous claims and seek all appropriate remedies from Mr. Dickerson for filing his exploitative suit," the rep told IBTimes UK.
Manhattan judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled on 14 April that the show must go on because Lawrence didn't have viable evidence to his claim that the movie's release would damage him beyond repair.
A rep for Warner Bros and MGM told TMZ that "the judge saw through this thinly-veiled attempt to extort the companies that have invested over 14 years and millions of dollars to bring the beloved 'Barbershop' franchise to audiences worldwide."
Watch the BarberShop: The Next Cut trailer here:
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