Chinese game company Suzhou Snail Digital Technology Co. filed a lawsuit in California this week against Fox Digital Entertainment, alleging that Fox failed to fulfill its end of a contract with Snail to make a mobile game based on the July film "War for the Planet of the Apes."
For devs, the details of the case shed some light on what the value of a "summer blockbuster" licensing deal might be: Snail claims that it reached a deal with Fox to pay $2.5 million (plus royalties) for the rights to make a mobile game based on the film, with an option to make an augmented-reality game as well.
But since the success of Pokemon Go drove China to effectively put the kibosh on AR games early this year, Snail says it focused on making the mobile game -- only to receive what it claims were insufficient assets and guidance from Fox, which was granted some approval rights over the game by the terms of the contract.
According to court filings retrieved by The Hollywood Reporter, Snail wants Fox to give the money back and pay damages, presumably based on the potential revenues Snail believes it lost by not being able to release the game when the movie debuted this summer.
"Were the Games to be released months, or even weeks after the film, the zeitgeist 'buzz' surrounding the Motion Picture would have died down and the Games may struggle to be relevant, let alone marketable," reads an excerpt of Snail's complaint. "That is why, on information and belief, film-based video games generally are released prior to or concurrently with the films upon which they are based. This is not only the industry standard, it is common sense."
Snail reportedly delivered a prototype version of a "War for the Planet of the Apes" game to Fox in April, only to receive "vague game notes that did not offer Snail Games reasonable sufficient guidance" to bring the game in line with Fox's expectations.