New York playwright fails to block opening of new ‘Barbershop’ movie

Image: Cast members Ice Cube (R), Common (2nd R, rear), Cedric the Entertainer (3rd R), Nicki Minaj (C), Eve (in pink), Utkarsh Ambudkar and Anthony Anderson (L) pose at the premiere of “Barbershop: The Next Cut” at TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) – The movie “Barbershop: The Next Cut” may open on Friday, a Manhattan judge ruled on Thursday as he denied an injunction sought by a New York playwright to block the fourth of a series of comedies that he claims ripped off his stage play “Scissors.”

Ronald Dickerson, a writer, actor and film director also known as JD Lawrence, had filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking the injunction and $20 million in damages from Time Warner Inc, Warner Brothers Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc and Showtime Networks Inc.

A representative for Dickerson declined to comment on the ruling by U.S. district court Judge Laura Taylor Swain.

“We are pleased that Judge Swain 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,” Warner Bros and MGM jointly said in an emailed statement.

A pre-trial conference on the lawsuit is scheduled for July 15.

The lawsuit claims that the plots, themes, characters and situations in the Barbershop movies bear an overwhelming resemblance to those of “Scissors,” which toured the United States from 1998-2001.

“Barbershop: The Next Cut,” which stars Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve and Nicki Minaj, is the latest film in a series about the owners of a Chicago barbershop and an Atlanta beauty salon, their employees and neighborhood problems such as gangs and gentrification.

The case is Ronald Dickerson aka JD Lawrence vs Time Warner Inc. et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District Court Of New York, No. 16-02695.

(Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang and Andrew Hay)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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