Fired "Spider-Man" director Taymor claims royalties

NEW YORK Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:33am EDT

Director Julie Taymor poses at the premiere of her film ''The Tempest'' in Hollywood December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Director Julie Taymor poses at the premiere of her film ''The Tempest'' in Hollywood December 6, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Julie Taymor, the ousted director of Broadway's troubled "Spider-Man" musical, is seeking an estimated $300,000 in unpaid royalties from producers, the union representing her said on Thursday.

The union filed an arbitration claim on behalf of Taymor, who was replaced on the $70 million show -- the most expensive in Broadway history -- in March while it was still in previews.

Her ouster followed repeated delays to the official opening, scathing reviews, and several accidents involving the show's high-wire stunts.

"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark", with music by Bono and The Edge, closed for three weeks in April for a major revamp by a new director. Its official opening is now set for June 14.

Despite the bad publicity, the show is making more than $1 million at the box office every week and frequently places among the top three attractions on Broadway.

"Taymor has given nine years of her life to this project," Laura Penn, executive director of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the union filing the claim, said in a statement.

"The producer has absolutely no right, legally and ethically, to withhold royalties that are due to her," the statement said.

Penn told Reuters that Taymor received only her original director's fee of $125,000 about five years ago, but has not received any of the royalties owed to her since preview tickets went on sale last November.

Taymor, the creative force behind the successful stage adaptation of Disney's "The Lion King," is still credited as the show's "original director," and should therefore continue to receive director royalties even after her exit from the production, the union said.

Producers declined comment on the claim.

The arbitration filing is restricted to Taymor's work as a director, Penn said. She also has a separate contract as an author of the show.

Taymor's spokeswoman, Mara Buxbaum, said Taymor was "certainly aware and cooperative with the claim,".

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jill Serjeant)

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