Whitney Houston biopic | legal action launched over 24 songs from 2022 movie

Whitney Houston I Wanna Dance With Somebody
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Sony Music launches legal action over the 2022 film, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody. More on the story here.

Here’s a bit of an odd one. In 2022, Sony Pictures Releasing put into cinemas Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the biopic of the late Whitney Houston. It was, in hindsight, the wrong film at the wrong time, grossing just shy of $60m off its $45m budget, in spite of a powerhouse lead performance by Naomi Ackie. At the time it landed in cinemas, Avatar: The Way Of Water was vacuuming up all the money in the world, and Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody never really stood a chance.

Now, the film – again, released by Sony Pictures Releasing – is being sued by, er, Sony Music.

The litigation isn’t Sony suing itself, though. Rather, it’s taken aim at four companies that were involved in the making of the film, alleging that said companies haven’t paid the necessary licence fees for the 24 Whitney Houston songs that popped up in the movie.

Sony wants just shy of £3m, again not off itself, for damages. The companies it wants the cash off appear to be Anthem Films, Nybo Producers, WH Movie and Black Label Media. The latter has already argued that there were lots of investors in the film, and basically that they shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush.

Apparently, according to the lawsuit, the money originally due for the songs was due to be coughed up buy July 2023, and wasn’t forthcoming. The legal case also includes a court order to bring the alleged copyright infringement to an end. We’d be surprised if that affects the movie itself though, which in more recent times has been doing the rounds on Netflix. Still, stranger things have happened.

More as we hear it. We suspect this might, eventually, be quietly settled though…

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