|Elvis Express Radio News
|LEGAL DECISION PUTS ELVIS' DIGITAL RESURRECTION IN DOUBT?
October 11, 2017 - Forbes / Elvis Express Radio
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|As “The Boss” begins his Broadway run, it looks like “The King” might never arrive.
Earlier today, a federal court ordered Pulse Evolution, a digital production firm, to pay $524,196 to Darren Bagert, a Broadway producer, for breaching their deal to develop a new
musical. The show was set to star one of the most popular performers of all-time, Elvis Presley.
The fact that Presley died over 40 years ago did not seem to be an issue. Pulse announced back in 2014 that they were working with the Elvis Presley estate to create exciting new
digital performances with Elvis and introduce a new era for the legend.
Pulse Evolution specializes in making lifelike holograms for concerts and films. It previously resurrected rapper Tupac Shakur at the Coachella Music Festival in 2012, and breathed
new life into singer Michael Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards in 2014.
Reaching for other stars, Pulse Evolution next acquired the rights to create a virtual version of Presley from the owners of his estate. It hoped to put him back on stage in a 90-
minute show, and brought in Darren Bagert, the producer of Side Show and Of Mice and Men, to oversee the $15 to $25 million project.
According to their agreement, Bagert had to assemble a creative team, build a budget, and attend meetings with potential investors. Pulse Evolution, in return, had to give him
$75,000, a production fee tied to the budget of the show, and 200,000 shares of its common stock.
Yet, after Bagert fulfilled his obligations, Pulse Evolution announced a new partnership with the creator of American Idol, Simon Fuller. Now the largest shareholder of the firm, Fuller
would focus on developing the same Elvis Presley show.
“That was a game-changing moment for us,” recalled Bagert, emphasizing that “two producers were attached to the same project.”
Hoping to bring the show to Broadway, Bagert continued his work behind the scenes. But, last October, he had enough, and decided to bring Pulse Evolution to arbitration. He
claimed that Pulse Evolution never paid him, and the shares that he received were all restricted stock, meaning that he could not sell them on the open market.
Pulse Evolution, according to its founder, John Textor, “chose not to defend the matter in arbitration, as the arbitrator was clearly not suited to preside over securities matters.” No
one from the firm showed up at the hearing, and the arbitrator awarded Bagert over $500,000, finding that the digital production business had breached their agreement.
Bagert then sued to enforce the arbitration award in federal court, and the founder resigned. Pulse Evolution, once again, decided not to defend the matter, and the court has now
ordered it to pay up.
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