Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bite Me

Looks like MST3K fans aren't the only ones calling The Island a remake of Parts: The Clonus Horror. The producers of that movie seem to have realized this is one last chance to make money.

Was Clone Movie Cloned from Another Clone Movie?

The producers of the 1976 independent movie The Clonus Horror have filed suit against DreamWorks and Warner Bros., claiming that the plot of their film, about a colony of clones kept on an island as spare parts for ailing rich people was cloned for the recent flop The Island. The Clonus producers claim that there are 90 instances in which the two films are identical. Indeed Premiere magazine recently wrote, "The first hour of The Island plays like a much more expensive albeit scene-for-scene remake." The Clonus team, producer Myrl A. Schreibman, director Robert S. Fiveson, and screenwriters Bob Sullivan and Ron Smith, are asking for unspecified damages. DreamWorks issued a statement saying, "The Island was independently created and does not infringe anyone's copyrights."

I generally don't give much credence to accusations like this. Granted, the cloning premise might have been more novel in 1979, but considering that the ethics of raising clones for spare parts is brought up in virtually every idiotic debate on the ethics of cloning, it's not a huge leap to think of making it into a movie. And you'd be surprised how naturally and logically little ideas flow from a big idea. If you ask two different people to independently write stories about deceived clones, their stories will have a lot of similarities, because the premise lends itself to certain obligatory scenes. It would actually be harder for them to write stories that weren't similar.

Yet writers still sue, because they just can't fathom that someone else went through the same ever-so-unique thought process that they did and settled on the same logical conclusions. That, and they can't bear to not get a piece of the action for all their troubles. It sucks when you see someone else who also came up with your clever idea and is getting more exposure for it.

The funny part here is that they're suing over this total flop of a movie, and that a would-be summer blockbuster is being accused of similarities to a '70s B-movie that's recognized mainly because a cult TV show made fun of it.


C said...

I don't know the law, but as I thought it doesn't really matter if it was thought of independently. It just matters that it was thought up first.

Although, I'm pretty sure a lawsuit for the profits for the movie won't cover the expense of the trial.

Kenny said...

That's more true of patents than copyrights, I think.