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Universal Studios Sues A Production Company for Copying Battleship. Seriously.

April 27, 2012

Those of you with “television” or an internet connection are undoubtedly aware that a new movie starring Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker will open May 18, 2012.  This movie, called Battleship, will also feature some dudes named Neeson and Kitsch, but we don’t care about them.  (Note: Neeson & Kitsch would make a great buddy cop movie, especially if one of them were a dog or a monkey, or maybe an alcoholic parrot.)  If you recognize the title, that’s probably because you read The Brown Tweed Society, which broke the news about Battleship years ago.  By “broke the news,” we mean that we read it elsewhere and added snark to it.

One will be better than the other. I wouldn't be surprised either way.

That should be the most interesting thing about Battleship, but it isn’t.  Universal Studios is suing production company The Asylum for premiering—if that’s what it’s called when D-grade, straight-to-DVD films are first distributed—its own The American Battleship, which looks, and probably is, just like Universal’s 2012 flagship movie Battleship.  I’m sure Universal wants to “protect its investment” and stuff, but here are four reasons why Universal should piss off:

  1. If The American Battleship isn’t exactly a fresh idea, neither is Battleship.  Universal bought the rights to the game and every other 1980s distraction because it figured Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers would happily throw money at something with the same name as a beloved childhood toy.  Universal is probably wrong.
  2. Battleship the movie doesn’t even have anything to do with Battleship the game.  Hell, Tora! Tora! Tora! is more closely related to Battleship the game than Battleship the movie is.  As I recall, there weren’t aliens in the game, and it was still fun for an hour or until the pieces were lost or broken.  Universal probably didn’t want to get sued for making War of the Worlds: The Abyss Transformers, so it bought the rights to something remotely related and paid for a “script” that was actiony and summer blockbustery and familiar enough to get people to come off $8-$10 (not counting concessions), whether or not it recalls the game.  So don’t get all high and mighty when someone copies “your” idea.
  3. This movie will probably be poo anyway, so anything that brings attention to it is good.  I believe I mentioned Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker above.
  4. The American Battleship stars Carl Weathers and Mario Van Peebles.  Have you seen Predator or Highlander: The Final Dimension?  Carl Weathers is so badass that his name in The American Battleship is “General McKraken.”  Mario Van Peebles is so badass that he played the main character in a movie called Baadasssss!  (Original title: How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass.)  And The American Battleship was both directed and written by someone with the name “Thunder Levin”!  These are obviously bad motherfuckers that Universal does not want to mess with.

Don’t give me any crap about “copyright” or “patent” or “intellectual property” “law,” however correct your lawyeratorial jibber-jabber might be.  Embrace the impending suck, Universal.  Buy up 100,000 copies of The American Battleship and give them away to people willing to sacrifice their time and money to see Battleship.  You probably spent twice that much during filming on Taylor Kitsch’s trailer tail anyway.

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