New Harper Lee: Who Owns Film Rights?

Universal owns rights to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1962 movie that grossed $13 million ($102 million in today’s dollars) and won three Academy Awards, including a best actor statuette for Gregory Peck. But it’s unclear if the studio would have a claim to the new book, “Go Set a Watchman,” even though the main characters recur. In “Watchman,” Scout returns to her native Alabama amid the birth of the civil rights movement to grapple with her past (in “Mockingbird,” Atticus defends a black man falsely accused of rape). Sources say Universal lawyers are exploring whether it might indeed own rights to the characters, while Harper’s reps are staying mum.

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