Warner Bros. has apparently tied another victim to the train tracks. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actress Bonnie Aarons is the latest innocent to fall prey to the studio’s mustache-twirling antics. Aarons, star of the popular horror movie The Nun, is suing Warner Bros. Discovery for allegedly cheating her out of revenue based on the use of her likeness.
The Nun actress Bonnie Aarons is suing Warner Bros. Discovery for allegedly exploiting her likeness and cheating her out of revenue.
The Nun—a film set within the larger Conjuring cinematic universe—was a surprise hit, grossing over $365 million against a budget of only $22 million. Despite a large part of the film’s success coming from Aarons’ creepy portrayal of the titular haunt, the actress was paid only $71,500 for her role as the Nun, albeit with the promise of a $175,000 bonus if the film performed well enough at the box office and a share of the profits from The Nun merchandise. It’s the last part that Aarons’ lawsuit alleges didn’t happen as promised.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Warner Bros. of not paying Aarons in a “transparent fashion” and obscuring and hiding the real amount owed to the actress as her rightful split of merch profits while at the same time “continuing to exploit her.”
A cursory Google search brings up a variety of The Nun-related merchandise too extensive to list. Rubber ducks, Funko Pops, t-shirts, dolls—all either plastered with or modeled after the likeness of Bonnie Aarons.
According to the actress’s legal team, Aarons’ The Nun agreement states that she’s entitled to a “pro-rata share of 5 percent of 50 percent of the gross receipts” that Warner Bros. Discovery receives from licensing out the rights to make merchandise based on The Nun—most of which features Bonnie Aarons likeness front and center.
Aarons further claims that Warner Bros. sent her statements supposedly showing her cut of the merchandising revenue but that the amounts were “inconsistent with the extensive merchandising activities” of the Nun character.
As anyone with even a passing relationship with the horror community can attest, there is a lot of The Nun merch out there of all shapes and sizes. One would assume that even the small slice that Bonnie Aarons is entitled to should be generating a very healthy revenue stream for the actress. Judging by her lawsuit, however, that’s clearly not the case.
Aarons paid only $71,500 for her role as the Nun, albeit with the promise of a $175,000 bonus if the film performed well enough at the box office and a share of the profits from The Nun merchandise. It’s the last part that Aarons’ lawsuit alleges didn’t happen as promised.
At one point, the actress requested that the studio open their books and allow her accountants to check things over, only to be sent a spreadsheet with line items accounting for what Aarons claims is “only a fraction of the known licenses.” Indeed, just a cursory Google search brings up a variety of The Nun-related merchandise too extensive to list. Rubber ducks, Funko Pops, t-shirts, dolls—all either plastered with or modeled after the likeness of Bonnie Aarons.
The lawsuit is just the most recent bit of skullduggery to involve the increasingly cartoonishly “evil” Warner Bros. since their merger with Discovery. The scrapping of fully completed movies to save on taxes, massive layoffs, pulling its own original content from its HBO Max streaming service, and then renaming its streaming service to simply Max—allegedly to get out of paying residuals for contracts with “HBO”—are just a few of the things Warner Bros. has done in the last year or so to squander all of its goodwill with fans/customers.
Warner Bros. Discovery has so far chosen not to comment on The Nun lawsuit.