Warner Bros. Discovery has been accused of shorting Bonnie Aarons her share of merchandising revenue for playing the demon nun in the Conjuring universe.
The complaint names Warners, New Line Cinemas and Scope Productions, which allegedly entered into an agreement with Aarons to play the nun in the franchise. She was paid $71,500 for her role in The Nun, which grossed over $365 million against a budget of $22 million, according to the complaint. Her contract included a $175,000 bonus tied to box office performance on top of a share of profits from merchandise exploiting her character.
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“Instead of accounting and paying in a transparent fashion, Warner Bros. obscures and hides the true amount of Ms. Aarons’ rightful share of merchandising revenues, all while continuing to exploit her,” states the suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The agreement states she’s entitled to a “pro-rata share of 5% of 50% of the gross receipts” from the licensing of merchandising rights.
Aarons says Warners sent her written statements showing her share of revenue that she alleges were “inconsistent with the extensive merchandising activities” for her character. Asked to open its books, the studio sent her a “spreadsheet that contained line items corresponding to only a fraction of the known licenses,” she claims.
The complaint claims breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which bars acting in a way that undermines the benefits to the counter-party of an agreement.
Aarons’ demon nun, who first appeared in the sequel to The Conjuring, spawned the spinoff franchise, The Nun, as well as a line of merchandise, including dolls, jewelry and posters. Members of the cast “whose name or likeness are used in the particular merchandising item” appear to have been granted a share of merchandising revenue, according to text of the agreement cited in the complaint.
Warners and New Line didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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