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Universal Sues Lionsgate's "Witless Protection"

Posted: April 24th, 2008 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Universal Sues LionsgateSubmit Comment
Universal has filed a lawsuit against Lionsgate, claiming that the character, FBI agent Alonzo Mosely in "Witless Protection," is the same character that appeared in their 1988 hit "Midnight Run," starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin.

Both movies feature similar stories of a witness set to testify in criminal court against the mob. And in both movies, this witness winds up on the run, pursued by a short-tempered, humorless FBI agent name Alonzo Mosely.

What's interesting, is that the Mosely character is played by Yaphet Kotto in "Witless Protection" and "Midnight Run."

The complaint filed by Universal includes a harsh review of "Witless Protection" and claims that Lionsgate was previously warned with a cease-and-desist letter, regarding this particular matter. Now, the studio is seeking to impound and dispose of all copies of the film and it wants all the profits associated with it.

Character theft is a copyright violation, but several films have successfully gotten away with it, by claiming that they are not copying the character, but simply parodying. Let's see if Lionsgate goes down the same route.

On a side note: "Witless Protection," which stars Larry the Cable Guy, earned an embarrassing $4 million in worldwide ticket sales. I'm not sure how much Universal can get from a film that did that poorly.

Click here to read our "Witless Protection" review.

Read the official complaint

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


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