MacGyver Creator Trying to Shut Down MacGruber Movie


A couple of weeks ago, the first trailer for the MacGruber movie was unleashed on the world, proving that it isn’t a joke and that they actually are making a movie based on the moderately funny Saturday Night Live sketch. Although some of us thought the trailer actually looked a bit better than expected, many others stuck to their guns and called it crap right from the get go. Well, if you fall into the latter group, you may be pleased to hear that someone is actively trying to stop this whole movie from ever getting released… and that someone is Lee David Zlotoff, creator of the TV show MacGyver!

According to a tipster over at Latino Review, Zlotoff is apparently in the midst of filing a massive lawsuit against Relativity Media with the hopes of not only blocking the film’s release, but also getting a sizable settlement from them. You see, it was announced last year that he is currently working on a big screen remake of MacGyver with New Line, and he thinks this may be detrimental to that project (probably similar to how Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes put the brakes on a Will Ferrell / Sacha Baron Cohen comedy version of the detective).

He may have a point, but here’s the all important question: is MacGruber protected under the “fair use” rights for parody in U.S. Copyright Law? The source at Latino Review seems to think that there is a limit to the allowed length of a parody (ie. a short sketch – yes, feature film – no), and while I can’t confirm that, I know that you have to distinguish your own creation from the original in such a way that there is no confusion between the two. MacGruber does seem an awful lot like a direct copy of MacGyver, and if it’s played too straight without enough of an exaggerated difference, maybe Zlotoff could have a case here. What do you think, is MacGruber on shaky legal ground? Do you welcome Zlotoff’s attempts to shut the movie down, or could his own MacGyver feature film be even worse than MacGruber?

  • Matt

    Haven’t even seen the trailer yet so its hard to judge but if macgruber is to macgyver as austin powers is to james bond they shouldn’t have much of a problem. But the similarity of the names may give them problems.

  • KeithTalent

    What a dick. This country was founded on satire! Leave it alone old man.

  • Hm. I’m inclined to think the army of lawyers at NBC/Universal and Relativity are smarter than Lee David Zlotoff. Satires and parodies are almost always protected by the law. But stupider things have happened.

  • Falsk

    I mean, the movie looks terrible and I wouldn’t be upset if it got canned… but why are they doing this NOW? Why not when it was ANNOUNCED… or in production?

  • I would think this would only increase the want for people to watch the real McGuyver.

  • “is MacGruber protected under the “fair use” rights for parody in U.S. Copyright Law?”

    Of course it is. This guy doesn’t stand a chance. Plus he’s now a weasel in my eyes. George Lucas’ francise has been directly spoofed and satired a thousand times over, and he’s not crying to his lawyers. This would only help to steer a new generation to his product (MacGuyver), but now, he’s just a douche.

  • Chris

    Will Forte isn’t funny at all and the movie looks like garbage anyway.

  • Maopheus

    Kinda late for that don’t you think? I mean it’s not like the movie is just being made, we’ve known about it for a while so just now he realizes there’s a movie? Sounds like he doesn’t have much to stand on. How about all those movies like Date Movie, or Scary Movie or whatever?

  • HFD

    I agree with everything you all have to say, except for comparing this to Austin Powers. I couldn’t stand this on SNL, and this movie is more of the same el crappo.

    I believe it’s probably a cash grab attempt. You wait until the product is finished and paid for, then file a lawsuit trying to prevent release. The studio can’t afford any potential delays with a release date approaching, so it’s cheaper for them to add another “producer” to the film then go through the cost of a trial.

  • Brendan

    I thought Henry Winkler was the creator? I suppose he didn’t actually come up with the character or anything, but he produced it and started the ball rolling by suggesting that they create an action show where the hero doesn’t use a gun.

  • Jill

    I think you are all nuts and need to get a sense of humor. A) Will Forte is HILARIOUS B) MacGruber is possibly one of my favorite sketches. You had to be a MacGyver fan to appreciate how great it truly is! I will be going to see the movie and plan to laugh my *** off!