Sounds like someone needs to get on the old micro-fish machine at their local library and dig up some past copyright cases, let alone check out a couple of books on abusing trademarks (Heck, as a business grad, I’ve about twenty-books I could ship over that’d scare anyone from thinking they can film their own friggin fan-fic for professional purposes. Doesn’t matter what the title, if it’s someone else’s works, and you use it, expect to be red-knuckled before you even stock up on Kodak.)
The always well-dressed Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man”, “Drag Me to Hell”, “Evil Dead”) has successfully blocked indy shingle Awards Pictures from using the “Evil Dead” title.
The production company had been developing a third sequel to Raimi’s classic horror movie for the past 8 years.
Here’s Awards’ original log-line for “Evil Dead 4” :
EVIL DEAD IV: CONSEQUENCES: Horror, 136 mins. Prod co: Award Pictures. Prod/scr: Graham MacCrae, Glenn MacCrae. Budget: $71m. Pre-production. Delivery date: 2004. Ash may need a hand fighting deadites, demons, the FBI and reality TV.
Awards, based on Connecticut and headed up by Glenn MacCrae (co-producer and co-writer of the “$71m”! dollar sequel), were planning to make an “Evil Dead 4” that would purportedly sequelize the events of Renaissance Pictures and Raimi’s popular horror series – and much to the dismay of the rights holders. While it was obvious Awards would never get away with it, it’s equal parts frightening and amusing that they believe they could’ve.
Awards Pictures, despite not having the approval of anyone at Renaissance (the company formed by Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell at the time of “Evil Dead”), announced a while back they were doing an “Evil Dead 4”. When Raimi got wind of this, he forced the independent crowd into court where he successfully prevented them from making the unofficial sequel – let alone using the “Evil Dead” name on anything else.
Deadline says :
In the four-page judgment (read it here), Judge Dale Fisher said that Awards Pictures are “permanently enjoined” from “using the EVIL DEAD name or mark or any derivation or colorable imitations thereof, or any name or mark that is confusingly similar thereto, including but not limited to the names Evil Dead; Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon; Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon, Part 2; Evil Dead: Consequences, (collectively, the “Prohibited Names”), as or as part of the title of a motion picture, television program, video game, play, book or any other form of entertainment provided or to be provided through any media, or in connection with the promotion, development, distribution, or production of any form of entertainment.”
Awards Pictures, who had claimed that Raimi gave up his trademark when he announced in 2000 that Renaissance would never do another “Evil Dead” sequel (come the f*ck on!), were off to a bad start in the court case – not only did they not respond to a May filing by Renaissance over the ripping-off of the “Evil Dead” brand, but they didn’t even hire a lawyer to represent them in court. Jesus, we really need a one-off “Judge Judy” special for this!
Anyway, “Evil Dead 4” is a no-go – unless it’s a Raimi production.
But there’s more, and I don’t think this is widely known.
It hasn’t been widely reported but did you know this isn’t the first time that Awards Pictures have tried to get away with sequelizing someone else’s flick? A few years back the indy shingle announced they were developing a sequel to 1986’s “Big Trouble in Little China” – even promoting it at various conventions, I recall – without the approval of 20th Century Fox or director John Carpenter. Yes, I know.. I know.. the nerve.
“More Trouble in Little China”, written and produced by Awards’ Graham MacCrae and Glenn MacCrae, was budgeted at $75m. Awards’ pitch had Jack Burton returning to stop Lo Pan, who had returned after learning the mysteries of death.
Now this went away fairly quickly, and I’m guessing Fox’s trigger-ready lawyers squashed Awards’ plan quick-smart, but I’d love to know why the production company thought they could do a sequel to this one? Did they read an interview with Carpenter in which he, like Raimi said of “Evil Dead”, declared there wouldn’t be a “Big Trouble” sequel? Was that the basis of the “Big Trouble 2” defense, I wonder..
Whatever the case, Awards’ won’t be responsible for the cinematic return of either Ash or Jack Burton. As much as I’d love to see both those characters back on the big screen, I gotta say… phew!
Raimi’s “Evil Dead” remake hits theaters next year.
No word on anything “Little China” in the works.