Irony is a dish best served with a lawsuit. Voltage Pictures, who have made headlines for their aggressive tactics in suing those who have downloaded their movies illegally, have now been hit with legal actions themselves for ripping off a legendary movie franchise.
A couple weeks back it was reported that Anne Hathaway would be starring in “Colossal,” the latest film from Nacho Vigalondo (“Timecrimes,” “Open Windows,” “Extraterrestrial“), which was described as a “Lost In Translation” meets “Godzilla” tale about a New York woman who has just lost her job and her fiancé and heads to Japan upon hearing news of a giant lizard laying waste to Tokyo. It’s that latter detail that has “Godzilla” rights owners Toho Co. hot and bothered. They have filed a suit against Voltage for using images from last year’s Gareth Edwards‘ directed Hollywood version of “Godzilla” to try and drum up financing for the indie project.
Now, it’s not unusual for production companies, when selling movies that haven’t even been shot yet, to privately use material from other films to give investors and distributors a vague idea of what the finished product might be. Certainly, none of Voltage’s sales materials have been made public except for the plot details and that catchy logline referencing two completely different movies. But the stakes in this case are high—Toho is looking to stop production and distribution of “Colossal.” And it’s this kind of legal haggling that could completely halt a small movie that doesn’t have the resources of an established studio.
It’s an interesting legal terrain and I’m curious to see how it’ll play out. If Toho is successful, it will certainly cause a shift in how producers present developing projects. [Associated Press]