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Toxic Crusaders and Ninja Turtles Square Off in Court

December 29, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Toxic Crusaders are allies in the fight against evil. But on the real side of the cartoon business, the sewer-dwelling reptiles and environmental superheroes are fighting each other.

Troma Inc. said Tuesday it has sued New Line Cinema Corp., distributor of the Ninja Turtles movies, claiming New Line reneged on a deal to make a movie based on Troma’s pollution-fighting Toxic Crusaders characters.

The lawsuit alleges that New Line stalled the project intentionally in order to avoid competing with another movie it plans to release in the spring, ″Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.″

The suit, filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court, says New Line agreed last year to make and distribute a movie about the environmentally conscious cartoon superheroes. Troma seeks $50 million in damages.

New Line’s headquarters in New York were closed for the holidays, and executives could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Troma says in the suit that New Line promised to begin filming by October and release the movie by spring of 1993.

But after ordering the script, Troma alleges, New Line abandoned the project without giving reason or paying promised fees. New Line has made a number of low-cost hits, such as ″Nightmare on Elm Street.″

″I am shocked that New Line could renege and treat its contractural obligations so cavalierly,″ Lloyd Kaufman, Troma’s president, said in a news release.

New York-based Troma has had small-scale success making mostly low-budget horror movies such as ″Class of Nuke ’Em High″ and ″Rabid Grannies.″

In its suit, Troma says New Line promised to spend at least $5 milion making the movie and $3 million promoting it. Troma says it will lose revenue from licensees who had planned products tied to the movie’s release.

-12-29-92 1734EST

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