...and with that, I begin with...
#1: James Cameron's Avatar
Taken from Movieweb.com
Skyline Vs. Battle: Los Angeles Legal Trouble with Sony?The city of Los Angeles will be invaded by aliens on the silver screen with two upcoming films, Universal's Skyline, due in theaters November 12, and Sony's Battle: Los Angeles, which will be released on March 11, 2011, and both films could be at the center of a legal battle, according to Deadline New York.
A lawsuit hasn't been filed yet, but the site is reporting that Sony is considering taking legal action against Universal and Relativity Media due to the similar themes of both films.Skyline directors Greg Strause and Colin Strause are at the center of this potential legal battle, since Sony hired the brothers' visual effects company Hydraulix to work on Battle: Los Angeles and apparently the brothers never informed Sony that they were making their own alien-invasion film, Skyline.
Sony hired Greg and Colin in early 2009 to work on Battle: Los Angeles. The issue seems to be whether or not their access to Battle: Los Angeles materials such as the script and storyboard images formed the initial basis for Skyline. Sony claims that, at the very least, Greg and Colin should have informed the studio of their intentions to make Skyline.
While both Sony and Relativity Media declined comment for the story, a rep for the Strause's released a brief statement.
"Any claims of impropriety are completely baseless. This is a blatant attempt by Sony to force these independent filmmakers to move a release date that has long been set by Universal and Relativity and is outside the filmmakers' control."
We'll be sure to keep you posted with any further developments on this potential lawsuit regardingSkyline and Battle: Los Angeles as soon as we have more information.
Skyline was released November 12th, 2010 and stars Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel,Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins, David Zayas, Donald Faison, Robin Gammell. The film is directed by Colin Strause, Greg Strause.
Battle: Los Angeles comes to theaters March 11th, 2011 and stars Michelle Rodriguez, Aaron Eckhart,Bridget Moynahan, Lucas Till, Michael Peña, Noel Fisher, Joey King, Taylor Handley. The film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman.
'Skyline' Update 3/19/11
The pitched battle that began between Sony Pictures and visual effects house Hydraulx over the alien movies Skyline and Battle: Los Angeles is over. Sony Pictures objected to the fact that Greg and Colin Strause made their low budget Skyline and benefited from the work their visual effects house Hydraulx did for the big budget Battle: Los Angeles. At the time, the principals of Hydraulx (which has provided vfx for Avatar, 300 and other big pics) denied they did anything improper. When financier Relativity Media refused to change the picture's opening from Nov. 12 until after Battle: Los Angeles's March 11 bow, Sony Pictures took the matter to arbitration. I'd been hearing that case was flimsy and largely based on the film's producer Neal Moritz being angry at the time. Insiders deny this.
Now, Sony Pictures has announced that the matter has been dismissed, and everybody is positively hugging and kissing! Part of that might have to do with the fact that for their respective budgets, each film did fine. Battle: Los Angeles wasn't at all impacted by the earlier film, and performed well enough and left enough plot room that a sequel seems absolutely inevitable.
Here is the official statement:
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that it has dismissed its arbitration against visual effects company Hydraulx Entertainment and its principals, brothers Greg and Colin Strause. The suit arose from Hydraulx creating visual effects for SPE's “Battle: Los Angeles,” while at the same time providing special effects on the Strause brothers’ own alien invasion of Los Angeles themed picture, “Skyline,” which was released in November 2010. SPE had received information that visual effects from “Battle: Los Angeles” had been used on “Skyline,” but after the discovery phase of the arbitration, SPE was satisfied its special effects were not used in “Skyline.”
In a statement, SPE’s President of Production and Studio Operations, Gary Martin, said Hydraulx created outstanding special effects for “Battle: Los Angeles.”
Greg and Colin Strause stated, “We’re glad to put this behind us. We’ve been honored to work on several wonderful SPE projects in the past and look forward to future collaborations.” In addition, to “Battle: Los Angeles,” the Strause brothers and their companies have provided special effects for SPE on “2012” and “The Social Network.” Sony Pictures Classics recently acquired the film, “Take Shelter,” executive produced by Greg and Colin Strause and for which Hydraulx did the special effects.