The Walking Dead is now almost two decades old, with the black and white indie comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore spawning an empire of TV shows, films, video games, movies, board games, novels, theme park rides and all manner of merchandise. The brand is at the center of AMC’s lineup, with the core television series set to air its eleventh and final season later this year.
All that success adds up to a lot of moolah, though it now seems that AMC Entertainment has been stiffing people on the profits. This centers on a long-running profit participation lawsuit brought by Frank Darabont and CAA over what they’re owed for The Walking Dead.
Now Variety is reporting that they’ve reached a settlement deal with AMC that’ll see a massive $200 million paid to them, as well as them continuing to receive their share of future profits from the core show and Fear the Walking Dead.
Settlements like these generally take place behind closed doors and remain confidential, though AMC were required to disclose details in a Securities and Exchange commission filing, which they were forced to make as this will essentially erase their free cash flow for 2021.
AMC isn’t out of the woods yet either. There are similar suits pending from producer Gale Anne Hurd, original creator Robert Kirkman, showrunner Glen Mazzara and exec producers David Alpert and Charles Eglee, with decisions expected by the end of the year.
This is another welcome blow to the notorious practice of ‘Hollywood Accounting’, in which people promised a percentage of the profits discover they’ll get nothing due to some shady math. Famous examples have been Return of the Jedi, which apparently never made a profit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which ended with a victory for Peter Jackson and a substantial settlement.
In the meantime, The Walking Dead‘s eleventh season will premiere on August 22, 2021. Just because this is a finale doesn’t mean it’s the end though, as AMC have plans for multiple spinoffs and transmedia projects.