Legal Decision Puts Elvis Resurrection in Doubt

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Source: Forbes Technology

Elvis Presley performs in New York during 1972. (AP Photo)

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 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.