Settlement clears way for 'Letters to Juliet' release

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Settlement clears way for 'Letters to Juliet' release

Mon Apr 19, 2010 @ 02:16PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

6a00d83451d69069e201347fb6b19d970c EXCLUSIVE: Fans of sappy love stories with a dash of Shakespearean melodrama are in luck.

Summit Entertainment will be allowed to release "Letters to Juliet" as scheduled on May 14, thanks to the settlement of a lawsuit that clouded rights to the story.

The film details the journey of an American girl (Amanda Seyfried) who happens upon a letter written to Juliet Capulet from Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet." After finding the letter left at Juliet's gravestone in Verona, Italy, the girl figures out what happened to the letter-writer who once sought love advice.

The story is inspired by a real-life Verona group called the "Club di Giulietta," which for 100 years has been answering those who leave letters at Juliet's grave. The club was the subject of a book, "Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love," which Summit optioned for film treatment.

However, the Club di Giulietta made its own agreement with a company called ErgoArts to tell its story in a movie.

In January, after being threatened with legal action, Summit sued ErgoArts, asking for a declaration that its film was legitimate. Summit was then countersued by another film company that claimed it had acquired film rights to the story from ErgoArts. To add to the intrigue, the third party alleged that one of Summit's co-producers had seen a script for a competing version, "Dear Juliet," before "Letters to Juliet" had started shooting.

The situation has now "been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties and the litigation between the parties dismissed," according to a statement Summit just gave us.

Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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