Variety is reporting that DIC Entertainment is suing Speed Racer Enterprises (SRE) in an attempt to enforce DIC's TV and merchandising rights to the anime series Speed Racer, the only anime show currently on the Nickelodeon network. In the suit DIC claims that shortly after DIC reached an agreement with Speed Racer Enterprises in August of 2002 and was able to re-launch the series on the Nickelodeon network, SRE refused to allow DIC to buy additional episodes of Speed Racer from Tatsunoko Productions in Japan, episodes that DIC said were promised when the company paid SRE $779,500 (plus 50% of gross receipts). DIC characterized SRE's actions as 'seller's remorse' and is seeking damages of $5 million plus punitive damages and injunctive relief.
The lawsuit was filed on the same day that Artisan Entertainment released the Speed Racer Limited Edition DVD, which contains the first eleven episodes of the classic anime series that debuted in the U.S. in syndication in 1967. The DVD, which has an srp of $22.98, also contains information about Tatsunoko Productions, translation notes, a villains gallery, a clip from the 1993 New Adventures of Speed Racer, theme song information and lyrics, and special limited edition 'rubber tire' packaging. Given the fond memories many older fans have for this syndicated anime series, it appears that Speed Racer has considerable potential in the DVD format.