Godfather Lawsuit is the Anti-Watchmen

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By Todd Allen

godfather Godfather Lawsuit is the Anti WatchmenAs you may recall people are *ahem* sharply divided on the topic of DC Comics doing a Watchmen prequel.  Certainly, Watchmen author Alan Moore doesn’t think it should happen.  Over in world of film and prose, the opposite thing is happening: Paramount Pictures is suing to prevent a new Godfather prose sequel and “protect the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy.”

It seems there’s a disagreement whether the original movie deal gave Paramount complete control over the book and potential literary sequels.  The Puzo estate already put together two Godfather sequels back in 2004 and 2006, but Paramount was only on board for the first one.  From the Bloomberg account of the dispute:

Paramount claimed that, after Puzo’s death in 1999, the company agreed to allow Bertelsmann AG’s Random House unit to publish a single Godfather sequel, “The Godfather Returns,” in 2004. The estate published another novel, “The Godfather’s Revenge,” in 2006 without Paramount’s approval, according to the complaint.

“Far from properly honoring the legacy of ‘The Godfather,’ the unauthorized ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’ tarnished, and in the process, also misled consumers into believing that ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’ was authorized by Paramount,” the movie studio, a unit of New York-based Viacom Inc., said in the complaint.

And on top of that, Paramount doesn’t want that third sequel seeing print.

If Watchmen is yin, than the Godfather has become yang.

It would appear DC and Paramount have differing philosophies on the economic benefits of preserving the reputation of a classic.  Well, that or Paramount just wants to get part of the revenue from the new book…

Comments

  1. Nawid A says:

    Those books do indeed suck.

  2. yin and yang, not ying and yang

  3. This is, of course, a dispute between two groups, NEITHER of whom is the original author. (Though personally, I still think there’s a whole unexplored question about how far copyright law ought to prevent unauthorised sequels in the first place.)

  4. Dwayne Duggard says:

    Funny that Paramount is concerned about Godfather novels not honoring the legacy of the film trilogy, when there wouldn’t be a film trilogy if Coppola had honored the legacy the original novel. Sonny Corleone never got Lucy Mancini pregnant in Puzo’s book, so there would not have been a Vincent Mancini to take over the family and provide Paramount with an uneven third flick.

    In fact, I’m a little worried that Paramount might be creating some kind of temporal paradox with this move..!

  5. Doc Brown and Marty solved that temporal paradox in Back to the Future Godfather IV.

  6. Jason wins!

  7. horatio weisfeld says:

    How to rescue two franchises at once:

    1. Track down and destroy all copies of The Godfather: Part 3 & then burn (along with negative)

    2. Track down and destroy all copies of Xmen Origins: Wolverine & destroy (along with negative)

    3. Hire Tarantino or Rob Zombie to make THE GODFATHER AGAINST WOLVERINE

  8. ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’… misled consumers into believing that ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’ was authorized by Paramount.”

    I know whenever I think of The Godfather I immediately think of the creative brilliance of the Paramount corporation as a novelist, screenwriter and director. Truly, there are few multinational media conglomerates that are finer with the pen or the director’s… what do directors use? A chair? A bullhorn? A clapperboard?

  9. Horatio, you might want to include X3 in that purge. It was actually more disappointing than the Wolverine film (perhaps if only because I had higher expectations).

  10. Cory!! Strode says:

    I think that I would care if the first Godfather novel wasn’t such an awful potboiler. It is one of those rare cases where the movie is far and away better than the book.

  11. And the ad system for this page is for “The Godfather: Five Families”, which I’m sure is 100% respectful of the source material. Remember, you can’t spell MMPORPG without “Mario Puzo”!

  12. goggles says:

    I remember a few years ago Boom! had a licensed Godfather comic book about to come out and it was Coppola that killed it. If I recall it was entirely set before the original film.

    The Puzo and Brando (his likeness was used) estates were on board and I believe Paramount was as well. I believe this was 2006 and finally killed off in 2008.

  13. Torsten Adair says:

    “Funny that Paramount is concerned about Godfather novels not honoring the legacy of the film trilogy, when there wouldn’t be a film trilogy if Coppola had honored the legacy the original novel.”

    That should read “if Coppola and Puzo had honored”, as they are the credited screenwriters for “The Godfather Part III”.

    Curious… Putnam (now part of Penguin, et al.) owns the rights to the first novel. Random House published “The Godfather Returns”. The Prequel, “The Family Corleone”, based on a screenplay by Puzo, is published by Hachette. Nowhere is Viacom’s Simon & Schuster division involved.

    At least “The Godfather’s Revenge” avoids trademark infringement on the cover… It’s nothing like the “Zombie Kid” case.

    An interesting case is “The Sicilian”, which does include the Corleone family in the book, but not the movie.

    Puzo hit the lottery. His book was turned into a blockbuster movie series. That publicity, and his talent, keeps most of his work in print decades later. Usually, an author gets one hit, then fades back into the background (Winston Groom, Gary K. Wolf, Harper Lee, William Golding…)

  14. Also of note: The existence of The Godfather Returns and The Godfather’s Revenge have not tarnished the reputations of the movies one whit. Even the third movie hasn’t managed to damage the reputation of the first two. The masterpieces are still treated as masterpieces, and the rest is still “that other stuff.”

  15. Chris Hero says:

    @Peter

    Great comment!

  16. Danny Fingeroth says:

    Wait a minute! You mean…there’s possible illegal activity involved with something connected to the mobsters-as-heroes The Godfather?! I’m shocked! Where could such an idea have come from?

  17. eddie blunt says:

    On this side of the pond William Golding had more than one hit!!!! definitely not a one hit wonder!

  18. horatio weisfeld says:

    Danny Fingeroth
    02/22/2012 AT 10:11 PM
    Wait a minute! You mean…there’s possible illegal activity involved with something connected to the mobsters-as-heroes The Godfather?! I’m shocked! Where could such an idea have come from?

    >>

    American media and corporate seems desperate to talk about anything other than the International Ponzi Banking System (which will continue to take away whatever crumbs you hide).

    We should all look forward to the day when (at least) thoughtful people (like The Corleones) rule again.

  19. “Paramount Pictures is suing to prevent a new Godfather prose sequel and “protect the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy.”

    Wait wait, they’re saying this now after they’ve ALREADY approved of The Godfather Returns in 2004? You mean that one “protected the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy” simply by the virtue of Paramount approving of it? What bullshit.

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