Q. I read your FAQ about writing sequels. The movie I would like to write would be at least 22 years after the original. Isn't that long enough to expect that the original producer has given up on a sequel?
Copyright now lasts almost a hundred years, thanks to Sonny Bono and the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. The producer may have given up on a sequel, but the studio still holds the copyright.
Q. I expect you may say that if it hasn't had a sequel, then it wasn't successful enough to merit a sequel. However, the original does appear to have a huge fan base. Can you give me any hope on this situation?
Old movies get remade all the time. And, for that matter, 22 years is not particularly old. THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968) is getting remade, for example. And didn't they do a TV sequel to GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) in the past few years?
Q. If it is worth my time, would this be a rights infringement if I approach Warner Brothers about it, with a story using existing characters?
No. It is not a rights infringement to approach the copyright holder. It's not even a copyright infringement to write a script based on it. (It may be a waste of time, but not a copyright infringement.) The odds are small of you getting anywhere with WB if you're not a producer they know, but that's another matter.
If it were the material and not the fan base you were in love with, I would say write a great story as if you were writing a sequel, but change the names and a few of the circumstances. Last year I saw a pitch about two washed up drunks who used to solve crimes when they were teenagers. They were obviously The Hardy Boys, Twenty Years Later. You can't use The Hardy Boys without permission. But you can riff off The Hardy Boys. Then, later, if you get the copyright holder's approval, you can call them The Hardy Boys. And if you don't, the concept still works. And this frees you to make all the changes you need to make artistically.
Labels: copyright, remakes, rights
It looks like that Hardy Boys pitch you said you heard is already in preproduction. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise will star as the Hardy Boys as adults. The movie is called The Hardy Men.
The last time they worked together was when Stiller played Tom Cruise's stunt double in the sketch for The MTV Movie Awards.
kickin' impossible. that was hilarious!
If the new idea won't stand up without the sequel element, then it won't stand up anyway.
"Old movies get remade all the time. And, for that matter, 22 years is not particularly old. THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968) is getting remade, for example."
A third one? You have got to be kidding.
Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.