The actress who portrays the evil nun in the highly successful Conjuring movie series Bonnie Aarons is taking legal action against Warner Bros, alleging that the studio is not revealing the actual earnings from merchandise sales related to her character.
Bonnie Aarons initially portrayed the nun, referred to as Valak, in the horror movie The Conjuring 2 in 2016.
This successful film led to a separate series centered around her character, including the 2018 movie The Nun and the upcoming sequel The Nun 2, scheduled for release on September 8th.
Aarons lodged a legal complaint on Tuesday in the Los Angeles superior court, targeting Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, and Scope Productions.
She claims that for her role in The Nun, she was provided with a fixed compensation of $71,500, along with a $175,000 bonus linked to the movie’s box office success. This bonus was granted to her after the film earned over $365 million, surpassing its $22 million budget.
However, the lawsuit also asserts that her contract contains a provision entitling her to a portion of the revenue generated by Warner Bros’ merchandise that uses her likeness.
Since the nun’s appearance is entirely modeled after Aarons’ actual physical characteristics, without any computer-generated imagery or prosthetics, her significance to the franchise is unquestionable, as outlined in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit refers to the contract text, which states that “Aarons was guaranteed a portion of the revenue, specifically “5% of 50% of the gross receipts,” from the licensing of merchandise rights. According to the lawsuit, the merchandise in question encompasses a wide range of items such as “toys, dolls, decorations, pins, jewelry, T-shirts, socks, bedding, costumes, drinkware, and posters, all featuring Ms. Aarons’ likeness.”
According to The Guardian Aarons’ complained that, she received written statements from Warner Bros between 2019 and 2022 that detailed her portion of the revenue, which she alleges was “inconsistent with the extensive merchandising activities” for her character. When asked to elaborate on the figures, the studio sent a “spreadsheet that contained line items corresponding to only a fraction of the known licences,” she claims.
“Instead of accounting and paying in a transparent fashion, Warner Bros obscures and hides the true amount of Ms Aarons’ rightful share of merchandising revenues, all while continuing to exploit her,” states Aarons’ lawsuit.
Aarons is taking legal action based on allegations of violating the contract terms, breaking the obligation of fair and honest behavior, and the need for an accurate financial accounting.