With many budgets routinely crossing the $150 million threshold, studios keep a close eye on their tentpoles, making sure the films hit that four-quadrant sweet spot with nothing, not a blemish, to stop them. Every once in awhile, however, certain details are overlooked and the detail in the case of Marvel’s blockbuster team-up film “The Avengers” will block the release of the Blu-ray box set of Phase One of their cinematic universe.
Apparently the briefcase that held the superhero film’s MacGuffin, the Tesseract, wasn’t just a generic design but rather one that is copyrighted by the German luggage company Rimowa BhmbH. While the necessary legal paperwork was filed and permission granted for the briefcase’s use in the film, the selling of replicas as part of the deluxe Blu-ray set — which would have included the run of films directly leading into “The Avengers,” including the Joss Whedon film itself, along with a replica of the so-called Cosmic Cube — was not part of the deal.
In a complaint filed in federal court in California, the German company alleges that “Marvel did not obtain any license or authorization from Rimowa to make replica copies of the case for any purpose . . . the plastic ‘replica case’ [is] a close copy of Rimowa’s Topas attaché case in every respect but quality — from the proportions and coloring, to the style of the handle and latches, and, of course, in the use of the trademarked parallel ridges around the body of the case.”
Ouch. In the face of these serious allegations the set has been pulled offline and no longer available for pre-order. Fans will just have to make do with the three other versions available for the moment until a new agreement is reached (or new packaging arrives from Asgard). [Cosmic Booknews/THR]