UPDATE, 11:05 AM: James Cameron has issued a statement through Fox about last week’s Bryant Moore ruling: “Sadly, a cottage industry has arisen of fortune hunting plaintiffs seeking to ‘strike it rich’ by claiming their ideas were the basis for Avatar. As I have previously stated, Avatar was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades. Our film was also the product of a team of some of the world’s most creative artists and designers, and it is an insult to all of them when these specious claims are made. I am grateful that Judge Titus and the other jurists who have dealt with these cases have recognized the complete lack of merit of these offensive lawsuits.”
PREVIOUS, MONDAY AM: It took over two years but the highest-grossing movie of all time, James Cameron and Fox are finally free of yet another Avatar lawsuit. “In conclusion, the story of Jake Sully and his exploits are the original work of the Defendants and the Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate any valid claim of a violation of his copyrights,” a federal District judge in Maryland wrote late last week of sci-fi writer Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit (read it here). The Memorandum Opinion and a following Order by Judge Roger Titus effectively ends the case with a summary judgment and other orders in Cameron and Fox’s favor. Moore will also have to pay all legal costs in the case.
Related: Sam Worthington & Zoe Saldana To Return For ‘Avatar’ Sequels: Fox Eyeing End Of Year Start Read More »
UPDATED: Avatar stars Sam Worthington and Zoë Saldana will reprise their roles in the next three sequels to James Cameron‘s 2009 sci-fi fantasy blockbuster, Fox announced today. Worthington returns … Read More »
Disney announced its deal to add Avatar-licensed attractions to its parks two years ago, and today it officially kicked off construction on Pandora at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The plan is to have it finished in 2017, complete with … Read More »
Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione talks with host David Bloom about the imminent shakeout in the mammoth list of 76 films vying to join a nine-title shortlist for Oscar’s Best Foreign Language Feature category, a list that includes such highly regarded notables as The Hunt, The Grandmaster, The Past, and The Grand Beauty. They also take a tour around the week’s international box office returns, which were dominated by a halfling’s hot date with a fire-breathing dragon and livened by a suddenly voracious German market; discuss what impact big new tax breaks may have had in encouraging Jim Cameron to take his Na’vi to New Zealand for three Avatar sequels; and celebrate the recent rediscovery of two short films featuring Peter Sellers at a crucial transition early in his extraordinary career.
Global Showbiz Watch episode 19 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch episode 19 (.M4A version)
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After making Avatar in Wellington, James Cameron’s three sequels are now also lined up to shoot in New Zealand. The Kiwi government says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox to see the director make each of the next Avatar installments locally. The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise given Cameron/Avatar‘s history Down Under, along with the helmer’s 2012 purchase of oodles of land in South Wairarapa, near Wellington. The news coincides with changes to the tax incentive structure in New Zealand which were also unveiled today. Under the new regs, the new Avatars could qualify for a total rebate of 25%.
When the first Avatar was made in New Zealand, it delivered more than NZ$307M in spend for the local economy. The memo of understanding on the new movies includes several commitments inlcuding a spend of at least NZ$500M ($413.1M) on local production activity – ie, most of the live action shooting and VFX. There’s also an engagement to hire Kiwis in Head of Department roles with about 90% of the live action crew expected to be local. New Zealand will also get to host “at least one” official red carpet premiere. (The original film world premiered in London.) James Cameron and John Landau have also offered to serve as founding members of a new screen advisory board. And, there is language on marketing and promotion of New Zealand and its film industry alongside the three Avatar films; the transfer of technological know-how to New Zealanders; retaining screen production infrastructure in New Zealand that could be used for industry training; and a commitment by both parties to grow the screen sector in New Zealand and to building a long term and productive relationship between the Crown and Lightstorm/Twentieth Century Fox.
Meanwhile, changes to the tax incentive scheme announced by the local government today will see a hike in the rebate from 15% to 20% for international film and television productions. A further 5% will be available for international productions that deliver significant economic benefits to New Zealand. An as-yet undefined points system will determine eligibility. Read More »
James Cameron has won a string of Avatar legal battles recently but it looks like The Trademark Trial and Appeals Board isn’t going to be one of them. Already turned down once, 20th Century Fox was again refused its request to register the “Pandorapedia” name as a trademark on a planned Avatar-related clothing line of tagged T-shirts, PJs and more. The TTAB denied the studio’s appeal on the trademark earlier this month, saying it was too close to the trademark already used by Pandora Sportswear Corp. “We find that the marks PANDORA and PANDORAPEDIA are similar and thus…favors a finding of likelihood of confusion,” said the TTAB in its 8-page opinion (read it here). The opinion was sent out to Fox on November 8. Read More »
That’s the second Avatar legal loss in a row for Eric Ryder and another win for James Cameron. Three weeks after LA Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason granted the director’s motion for summary judgment, … Read More »
It’s been two years since Disney announced its deal to add Avatar-licensed attractions to its parks, but over the weekend at D23 in Tokyo the company finally jumpstarted the countdown clock to 2017. Here’s a peek at Disney’s plans to bring James Cameron‘s Pandora to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom by 2017 complete with a bioluminescent jungle cruise, floating mountains, a new nighttime spectacular, and a flying Banshee simulator attraction:
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Score another victory for James Cameron in his slew of Avatar lawsuits. The writer-director of the 2009 blockbuster yesterday prevailed in a suit brought against him by Eric Ryder, … Read More »
They won’t be in 3-D but you can hold them in your hand in either tablet or hardcover. Fox and James Cameron said today that Jumper author Steven Charles Gould has been brought on board to pen four Avatar novels based on and expanding on the blockbuster 2009 movie … Read More »
Deadline last Thursday revealed Fox’s plans to prepare three Avatar sequels that can be shot in succession, and here’s what Fox Filmed Entertainment chief Jim Gianopulos just told analysts: “Of course, Jim Cameron is finalizing the scripts– … Read More »
The highest-grossing movie of all time is again the subject of a copyright legal battle. Artist William Roger Dean filed a complaint against James Cameron and 20th Century Fox on Thursday seeking more than $50 million in damages over Avatar. Unlike past Avatar plaintiffs, Dean has an established pedigree. He is a well known artist who has created album covers for such big-selling bands as Yes and Asia and exhibited his fantasy landscapes and other work around the world. In fact, it is the ubiquity of his work, as well as a movie proposal based on it that he took at the 2005 Cannes Film Fest, that has Dean convinced the look of the 2009 3D sci-fi film were derived from his images. “The similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre. The infringing portions of Avatar are so similar to Plaintiffs Works that Defendants and others employed in the preparation of the film must have had access to the Plaintiffs Works,” says his 17-page complaint (read it here) filed June 27 in U.S District Court in New York. The filing cites numerous specific examples from the world of Pandora to the foliage and creatures that populate it where Dean sees his own work. Along with copyright infringement, Dean also is claiming contributory infringement, breach of implied contact, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
Related: James Cameron & Fox Denied Dismissal Of Latest ‘Avatar’ Suit
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James Cameron and Fox today did not get their request for a total dismissal of Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit claiming that Avatar was stolen from his scripts. The defendants did get some legal traction when federal Judge Roger W. Titus granted a motion Monday to dismiss the breach of implied contract claim in Moore’s 2011 suit. However, he did not dismiss Moore’s copyright claims in the hearing in the Southern District of Maryland over the 3D blockbuster. The ruling means the jury trial-requested case will go forward, with discovery to occur next during the next four to six months.
Moore sued the director, his Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation on December 19, 2011. The writer claimed that copies of his Aquatica and Descendants: The Pollination screenplays made their way to Cameron in 1993 and 1994 through Lightstorm production assistants. Though Moore says he was eventually told the company did not accept the submissions, he found “striking substantial similarities” between his scripts and 2009’s Avatar. Cameron has said in court filings that he had Avatar mapped out in a detailed scriptment before any such materials by Moore were submitted to his company. Moore is seeking $1.5 billion in profits and another $1 billion in punitive damages. Read More »
“Clear, undisputed evidence” reveals director James Cameron came up with the concept for Avatar, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in Los Angeles. Late last week, Judge Margaret Murrow granted (read the … Read More »
James Cameron‘s company Lightstorm Entertainment has acquired film rights to the 2011 novel The Informationist by Taylor Stevens to put on Cameron’s to-direct list after he finishes the second and third Avatar sequels. Those are currently in preproduction. 20th Century Fox will release the film, which will be produced by Cameron and his Lightstorm partner Jon Landau, who will soon go out to writers for the adaptation.
The Informationist, which came out in October 2011, centers on Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, an information specialist whose work is in-demand by corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. When a Texas oil billionaire hires her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood. Betrayed, cut off from civilization and left for dead, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget. A second Munroe novel, The Innocent, was published this year. Read More »
The most successful movie of all time is not a rip off of a screenwriter’s unmade film and novel, the U.S. District court ruled today. “Bats And Butterflies is a children’s story with a simple protagonist,” said Judge Manuel Real, Monday in Los Angeles. “Avatar is a more complex story about a conflicted protagonist.” The judge went on to add that the two were “not substantially similar” to each other. Back in the beginning of the year, Elijah Schkeiban filed a copyright infringement suit against James Cameron, 20th Century Fox, the director’s Lightstorm Entertainment and production company Dune Entertainment claiming that 2009’s Avatar was based on his novel and subsequent film script. The two sides have been chipping away at it legally ever since with the defendants getting successfully getting two motions to dismiss and Schkeiban amending his complaint. Read More »
So the Top 5 order now for all-time box office worldwide grosses (but not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices or 3D premiums) is:
1. Avatar 2D (Fox – 2009) $2.7B
2. Titanic 2D (Fox/Paramount – 1997) $1.8B
3. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 3D (Warner Bros – 2011) … Read More »
The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies has called for all movies featuring smoking to be rated for adults only in Great Britain unless there’s a good reason for the characters to be lighting up. But UK film censor David Cooke tells me there’s no public support. The disagreement comes on the heels of a just-published Bristol University study that questioned 5,000 UK 15-year-olds and analyzed some of the top U.S. movies released here from 2001-05 that depict smoking. Researchers say that half of those movies are rated UK15 or below, exposing children and teenagers to tobacco addiction. “Smoking in films remains a major and persistent driver of smoking uptake among children and young people, which the actions of irresponsible filmmakers, incompetent regulators and insouciant politicians are abjectly failing to control,” study co-authors John Britton and Alison Lyons write. The report highlighted Avatar and Read More »