24 Jan – Last November, Genting Malaysia Bhd filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney Co. and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. for allegedly abandoning Fox's theme park deal with Genting.
On 22 January, Fox filed a counterclaim in U.S. District Court in California.
However, Deadline is reporting that Genting's lawyer, Kasowitz Benson Torres partner John V. Berlinski, has responded to the counterclaim: "Fox's attempt to blame Genting is only to be expected and is designed to divert attention away from its own incompetence and inexperience.
"Just two months before termination, Fox was more than willing to open Fox World, but only if Genting paid them well in excess of the amounts the parties originally agreed upon.
"Genting has a proven track record in delivering high quality world-class theme parks and will prove that Fox's termination was both unfounded and improperly directed by Disney and Fox's parent company, Twenty First Century Fox."
Genting's original lawsuit, which named Disney as co-defendant since it is acquiring most of Twenty First Century Fox's film and TV businesses, stated that it had done everything as asked by Fox but Fox then demanded that the park open in "an impossible-to-meet deadline of 30 days."
A Fox spokesperson had previously called the lawsuit by Genting "entirely without merit", stating that Genting has been the one failing to meet the deadlines for years.
The recent counterclaim stated that "Genting's failure to 'soft open' the Park by June 2018 gave Fox the right to terminate the agreement without regard to whether Genting was at fault."
"Genting's failures to adhere to its obligations and deliver on the agreed-upon schedule resulted from a mixture of Genting's incompetence, inexperience, and rank indifference to its contractual obligations," it added.
Officially filed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Fox Entertainment Group, LLC and FoxNext, the counterclaim, asks for monetary damages that include USD9 million in license fees, USD37.2 million in guarantee amounts/royalties, and USD196.2 million in travel reimbursements "entitled to under the terms of the [original Memorandum of Agreement], plus interest, as well as consequential damages."
There's some hope for Malaysians and theme park enthusiasts to still be able to enjoy the theme park, since it was reported by AusLeisure last month that Genting plans to go ahead and open theme park, once its development in Genting Highlands is completed, despite the branding uncertainty.
(Photo source: 20th Century Fox)