News broke this morning that “mockbuster” rip-off company Global Asylum is being sued by film giant Universal over a rip-off of their new release, Battleship. Oh, the shock! The horror! Well… not really. After all, it’s Asylum we’re talking about – you know, the company behind genius and uniquely original titles such as The Terminators and Transmorphers.
Their title American Battleship (see what they did there?) will be released onto DVD shelves just four days after Battleship’s big screen May 18th release, in the hope that thousands will be fooled into believing it’s the latter.
And the plots aren’t at all similar, either; Battleship finds naval officers played by Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna battling to save the world from aliens. The rival movie features Carl Weathers and Mario Van Peebles, also naval officers, trying to save the world from aliens. So, as you can tell, the lawsuit is a big surprise for all parties involved.
TMZ originally broke the news, claiming that Global Asylum is trying to “piggyback” off Universal’s top budget marketing push for Battleship. Universal also claims Asylum’s movie infringes on their copyright to the board game “Battleship.” Read more about the lawsuit here.
Global Asylum responded to Universal’s claim with the following statement found on Deadline:
“The Global Asylum has promoted the feature film American Battleship for nearly a year while Universal raised no concerns. The timing of Universal’s recently filed lawsuit coincides with mixed reviews of its big-budget film, Battleship — the first movie based on a board game since Clue. Looking for a scapegoat, or more publicity, for its pending box-office disaster, the executives at Universal filed this lawsuit in fear of a repeat of the box office flop, John Carter of Mars. The Universal action is wholly without merit and we will vigorously defend their claims in Court. Nonetheless, we appreciate the publicity.”
Cheeky! But wait a minute – wasn’t John Carter a Disney film? Oh well, nevermind.
Their claims don’t really make sense, either – Battleship is already proving to be a huge international hit for Universal, and that’s before it has even opened on US screens. Global Asylum is also a relatively small company, so Universal using them to recoup funds seems a little… well, absurd.
But of course, it’s not the first time Global Asylum have pulled this type of stunt; in fact, the company are well-known for releasing films with similar names and plots to the big blockbusters. They’ve been accused in the past of trying to profit from the average Joe’s mistake when they go to rent out a hit film or pick it up at Netflix. Some of their other titles include Paranormal Entity, Titanic II, 2012: Ice Age, and Battle of Los Angeles.
What do you make of this case – does Global Asylum deserve to be taught a lesson, or should they go on making movies in this way?