The estate of the great science fiction writer Philip K. Dick is suing the makers of the 2011 Matt Damon film Adjustment Bureau–which was based on Dick’s 1953 story “The Adjustment Team.” Dick’s estate wants millions in back-end royalties from the film. Meanwhile, the film’s distribution company, Media Rights Capital, seems to think, despite already having a deal in place with Dick’s estate, the story is in the public domain.
The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims Nolfi approached the estate in 2001 seeking rights to The Adjustment Team, Dick’s 1953 story about a group of men who “adjust” the lives of ordinary citizens. The estate agreed to license the story at a “bargain” rate of $25,000 per year, but in exchange, Nolfi said he would make “substantial payments” to the trust if the movie ever happened. These payments totalled several million dollars when budget and box office bonuses are factored in, according to the suit.