Well this is somewhat unexpected, and yet it’s also been a long time coming. By now most movie fans are familiar with The Asylum, a low budget production company that has made a name for themselves by putting out direct-to-video rip-offs of popular Hollywood blockbusters (often referred to as “mockbusters”). Some of their not-so-acclaimed films include Transmorphers, Snakes on a Train, Paranormal Entity and Battle of Los Angeles, and they are usually released just prior to the Hollywood equivalent, creating confusion at video rental stores and on Netflix. Up until now, most studios have not really paid much attention to these atrocities, assuming that most consumers are smart enough to be able to tell them apart. This week, however, Universal Pictures has finally taken up arms against them, slapping them with a lawsuit over their upcoming Battleship clone, entitled American Battleship.
According to TMZ, Universal has filed a lawsuit claiming that Global Asylum is infringing on their property and piggybacking on their multi-million dollar marketing campaign. Not only does American Battleship share many plot similarities, but it also includes the name “Battleship”, which is the Hasbro board game that Universal owns exclusive movie rights to. They are asking for an injunction on U.S. distribution of American Battleship and they also want all DVDs, posters, and other promotional materials destroyed. Has The Asylum gone too far this time?
Back in 2008, Fox also threatened to sue them for The Day the Earth Stopped, which was obviously inspired by Fox’s remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still. In most cases, however, any attempts at legal action have simply given free publicity to The Asylum (and in this case, they once again stand to benefit from it). They recently issued a response to the lawsuit, claiming that Universal is “looking for a scapegoat… for its pending box-office disaster.” Sadly, I think I might be more interested in American Battleship than Battleship, as it stars both Mario Van Peebles and Carl Weathers. What do you think, is it about time someone put a stop to The Asylum’s shenanigans, or should they be allowed to continue making these terrible rip-offs?