‘The Nun’ star sues Warner Bros over alleged ‘rightful share’ of merchandise profits


Bonnie Aarons has appeared as the frightful demon in a habit in 'The Conjuring 2', 'The Nun' and the upcoming 'The Nun II'. Photos: TNS, Handout

The Nun star Bonnie Aarons is trying to conjure up the money she claims is rightfully hers.

The actor – who has appeared as the frightful demon in a habit in The Conjuring 2, The Nun and the upcoming The Nun II – filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros, New Line Cinema and Scope Productions in Los Angeles for not receiving what she alleges are her “contractually required share of merchandising revenues.”

Per the legal complaint obtained by The LA Times, Warner Bros. “exploited the talent, creativity, and likeness of Bonnie Aarons ... to enormous financial success” and observed that The Nun grossed over US$365mil in the worldwide box office revenue, making it the highest grossing film in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe.

Aarons was compensated US$71,500 for her role in the 2018 horror flick and made US$175,000 in bonuses tied to the film’s box office success, according to the suit. However, Aarons says in her suit that Warner Bros. “obscures and hides the true amount of Ms Aarons’ rightful share of merchandising revenues.”

“The importance of Ms Aarons’ contributions to the success of the films is undeniable. Unlike most horror movie monsters who hide behind a mask or are CGI creations, Valak is based on Ms Aarons’ physical features,” the court documents read. “In fact, Peter Safran, a producer for The Conjuring 2 and The Nun, stated: ‘The moment we saw (Ms Aarons), with the unique geography of her face, everybody said: “this is exactly who we want, this is who it has to be.”’

“Ms Aarons’ character is so popular that her appearance in The Conjuring 2 spawned the spin-off franchise, The Nun movies, based upon Ms Aarons’ character, as well as all manner of merchandise including toys, dolls, decorations, pins, jewellery, t-shirts, socks, bedding, costumes, drinkware, and posters all using Ms Aarons’ likeness. A significant portion of all merchandise for the Conjuring Cinematic Universe uses Ms Aarons’ likeness because Valak is its most popular character and there are no logos associated with franchise to use on merchandise.”

She alleges that she was promised a “pro-rata share of 5% of 50% of the gross receipts” from the licensing of merchandising rights, but never got it.

A representative for New Line Cinema told The LA Times that the studio has “no comment” at this time. Representatives for Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Aarons is claiming that due to her employers’ actions, she “has suffered damages in an amount to be proven at trial.” – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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