Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This Is Spinal Tap creators settle rights dispute, are now free to make ill-advised sequels

Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap
Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap
Photo: Getty Images

It’s been nearly four years since Harry Shearer filed a lawsuit against Vivendi and StudioCanal over the profits from This Is Spinal Tap, saying that he, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and director Rob Reiner were cheated out of the profits from merchandising, with Shearer saying in 2016 that over the decades since the film had been released he had only ever received $81 from album and home video sales, touring, and swag. After bringing the other aforementioned Tap members (and Tap directors) into his suit, asking for $400 million in damages, and arguing that Vivendi was funneling the profits from This Is Spinal Tap to make up for less-successful ventures back in 2018, the various parties have apparently reached some kind of agreement.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the (sort of?) fake band has reached a settlement with Universal Music, allowing the members/actors to get more money from sales of the soundtrack, but now they have informed the judge on this case that they have reached a “long-form settlement agreement” that will involve “restructuring the parties’ relationship and modifying contracts pertaining to the picture’s distribution.” We don’t know exactly what that means, but now that Shearer, Guest, McKean, and Reiner are (presumably) going to be getting a bigger slice of the Spinal Tap pie, there’s a greater incentive for them to get the band back together, so to speak. (Actually, no, in this case we mean that phrase literally.)

So who wants to see Spinal Tap 2? With everybody much older, coming up with new twists on that “Stonehenge” gag, turning things up to 12, and discovering that something can be more black than none more black? Actually, that sounds awful. Maybe they could just put out a new version of the Blu-ray and some T-shirts.

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