What’s The Verdict: Shopping in Cannes Put on Pause After Godzilla Franchise Sues Voltage over Anne Hathaway’s Latest Gig!

What’s The Verdict: Shopping in Cannes Put on Pause After Godzilla Franchise Sues Voltage over Anne Hathaway’s Latest Gig!

Shopping to buyers at Cannes Film Festival may have come to a temporary stop. Anne Hathaway has found herself in the middle of a lawsuit as the star of indie-film Colossal, where Hathaway is a woman who realizes her mind is strangely connected to a giant lizard going around town destroying Tokyo. Colossal was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and is being described as Godzilla meets Being John Malkovich. According to the Japanese company Toho, which is the rights holder of the Godzilla franchise, the film is in fact a Godzilla rip-off.

On Tuesday, Toho filed a  copyright infringment complaint against the studio Voltage Pictures claiming that the filmmakers “are brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own.” Toho says that Voltage Pictures flat-out refers to their film’s monster as ‘Godzilla’ in a variety of ways.  I mean, even the writer-director of Colossal, Nacho Vigalondo, said in an interview, “It’s going to be the cheapest Godzilla movie ever, I promise. It’s going to make it so cheap that you will feel betrayed.” This seems a little too close for comfort, don’t you think?

This lawsuit focuses on the filmmakers’ publicity efforts, which have included, quite literally, infringing content. Supposedly, the filmmakers sent an email blast to potential investors, sales agents and distributors pitching Colossal with a publicity still taken from the recent Godzilla reboot AND includes a document of “Director’s Notes” with multiple images from official Toho works.

According to the complaint [made by Toho], the document makes it very clear that Defendants have not only taken the Godzilla character as their own, but also they intend to use this character in the same way the character was used in the original film — i.e. attacking Tokyo.  Another infringement claim includes the line “Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla” that is in the booklet and poster featured at Cannes.  All in all, the plaintiff is suing for copyright and trademark infringements, trademark dilution, Lanham Act violations, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. Their ultimate objective is to prohibit Voltage from producing Colossal on top of unspecified damages.

I have to say this all seems pretty crazy.  Why would such a well-established Hollywood production company partake in such activities? Voltage makes direct references to copying Godzilla.  I’d like to point out that Voltage actually has a history of fighting infringements, so I guess this won’t be a new concept to them.  What do you think will happen? Will an injunction be granted against distribution of the film?

Stay tuned on What’s The Verdict for more updates!

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