Supernatural creator Eric Kripke's latest fight is not against the forces of darkness, but instead against Warner Bros. itself in a dispute over unpaid profits. The show is one of the longest running shows on television, releasing its season 13 premiere this October, and its continued success has no doubt been means for celebration for those involved.
In particular, profit sharers may have been expecting substantial payouts over the years, as it's unlikely that The CW show would have remained on the air all this time if it was a financial dud. However, as THR states, those entitled to a share of the profits have been met with no return whatsoever on Supernatural, with the show apparently racking up a deficit of nearly $23 million for its first eight seasons.
Kripke, however, clearly wants to take a closer look at the accounting at Warner Bros. and has specifically been disputing what the company has been booking in license fees. "If Warners had merely received a full cost license fee from The CW for Season 5 through 8, the gross receipts would be increased by $104,005,323," states Kripke's audit claim. The Supernatural creator also wants further information on the license fees for on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Warner Bros. has invoked arbitration in response to Kripke's claim, and its response puts in place Kripke's rights with regards to licenses, advising that "Kripke granted WBTV absolute discretion and control over how and whether to distribute and exploit the Series, including by authorizing WBTV to license the show to an affiliated company." On top of this, Warner Bros. also brings up the "greater compensation" Kripke has received in fixed fees, with instead licensing fees in earlier seasons needing to be reduced thanks to Supernatural's apparently modest early performance.
This isn't the only financial dispute that Warner Bros. is contending with at this moment in time. Mad Max: Fury Road's George Miller is suing Warner Bros. over lost earnings, with Miller claiming that Warner Bros. made decisions that forced the production of Mad Max: Fury Road to hit the $157 million mark. As production house Kennedy Miller Mitchell was due a bonus if production was kept under $150 million, the director has officially filed a suit on the matter.
Since Kripke's involvement in Supernatural became less hands on after its seventh season, fans of the show will be hoping that this dispute will not impact on its future. Now in season 13, viewers have been wondering how many seasons of Supernatural remain, and just how far Sam and Dean's battles with metaphorical and literal demons can go. With a spin-off called Wayward Sisters on the cards, however, there could be some gas in the old Impala left.