Bill and Ted has sparked a big fight in Hollywood – here's why

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Photo credit: Orion Pictures

From Digital Spy

That you shouldn't make promises you can't keep is a lesson drilled into all of us at a young age, but clearly that escaped the folks over at MGM.

The entertainment company has landed itself in hot water over a contract agreement.

TV network Starz claims it had an exclusive license to tons of MGM content – titles that shouldn't have been available anywhere else.

But when a Starz employee spotted that Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was also available to stream on Amazon, it appeared to them that MGM had disregarded the settlement.

Photo credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Starz initially listed 25 films that had fallen foul of the contract terms, but MGM then increased that figure, admitting to 136 movies and 108 TV series episodes. Starz, unsatisfied, did some more digging and discovered a further 100 more films that were in breach of their agreement.

"By its own admission, MGM licensed over 32% of the Pictures in the Library Agreements to competing services, in violation of STARZ's exclusive rights to those movies," reads the complaint filed by Starz Entertainment.

Other titles cited alongside Bill and Ted were some of the James Bond movies, Hannibal, Rain Man, Mad Max, The Terminator, Thelma & Louise and countless others.

Some of the titles mentioned also appeared on Epix, one of Starz' competitors (which is also owned by MGM).

Photo credit: Everett Collection

Starz is arguing that not only did MGM ignore the terms of the agreement, the company "directly profited from that breach in numerous ways".

The company also cites the damage to its relationship with "at least one major distributor", and the fact that consumers will have placed "less value" on what Starz had to offer given that several of its "exclusive" titles were available elsewhere.

But MGM isn't going down without a fight.

"The lawsuit is a transparent effort by Starz to use litigation to deflect attention away from its own competitive shortcomings," said MGM's counsel Orin Snyder said.

"Starz is pretending that a routine licensing dispute with MGM, that had no meaningful financial impact, is the cause of Starz's failure to win in the marketplace", adding: "We will vigorously defend against these claims."

Starz is seeking damage in the form of "lost profits, diminished reputation and loss of goodwill", and wants a jury to decide the outcome of this dispute.

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