The studio behind the famous Godfather trilogy is asking a court to make the franchise’s literary heirs an offer they can’t refuse.
In papers filed in New York federal court, Paramount (NYSE: VIA) Pictures accuses the estate of author Mario Puzo of tarnishing the godfather brand by publishing a series of mediocre sequels.
According to Paramount, it owns all rights to the Godfather franchise based on a 1969 agreement with Puzo. After Puzo died in 1999, the studio granted his heirs and Random House the right to publish an additional book which appeared in 2004 as The Godfather Returns.
Now, the studio is upset that the Puzo estate published another sequel, The Godfather’s Revenge, without permission and that it plans on putting out yet another Godfather work in the near future. Says Paramount:
Far from properly honoring the legacy of the Godfather, the unauthorized The Godfather’s Revenge tarnished it, and in the process, also misled consumers in connection with advertising, marketing, and promotion material related to the first and second sequel novels.
Paramount is claiming copyright and trademark damages, and is asking the court to grant it a temporary restraining order to prevent the new book from appearing.