If you’ve heard of The Nun, one of the horror movies within Warner Bros.’ Conjuring universe, you’ve seen Bonnie Aarons’ face. As the titular demon entity, Aarons is all over every bit of marketing for the film and its upcoming sequel – but now, the actress is claiming that WB is hiding how much they’ve made off her likeness in order to short her on the profits, and is suing the studio for it.
The lawsuit, which was first reported on by THR today, names WB, New Line Cinema, and Scope Productions LLC for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and accounting. It claims that they “exploited the talent, creativity, and likeness of Bonnie Aarons… to enormous financial success” and hasn’t properly compensated her in accordance with her contract.
According to the complaint, Aarons’ contract allowed for a “fixed compensation” of $71,500 for her work on The Nun, plus potential additional box office bonuses that ultimately earned her another $175,000, “but also required that Ms. Aarons would receive a share of Warner Bros.’ gross receipts from merchandise exploiting Ms. Aarons’ likeness.”
“Instead of accounting and payment in a transparent fashion,” the lawsuit alleges, “Warner Bros. obscures and hides the true amount of Ms. Aarons’ rightful share of merchandising revenues, all while continuing to exploit her.”
The Nun, as the lawsuit notes, has been a massive hit for Warner Bros. Pulling in $365 million worldwide after its release in 2018, it stands as the highest-grossing movie in the continuously lucrative Conjuring universe. That was more than enough to justify a sequel, with The Nun II, which will see Aarons reprise her role as the Demon Nun, set to debut on Sept. 8. When it comes to merchandise, however, Aarons’ lawsuit claims that the figures are less transparent.
It goes on to say that, between May 12, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2022, WB sent Aarons’ representatives a number of written statements showing the actress’ share of merchandising revenue, “but which were inconsistent with the extensive merchandising activities by Warner Bros. for Ms. Aarons’ character.” Subsequent efforts by Aarons’ representatives to get more sufficient documentation from WB about the matter, the lawsuit says, were not answered “substantively.”
IGN has reached out to Warner Bros. and New Line for comment.
Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.