Three Hollywood studios have won a restraining order against the newest release by mockbuster movie studio Asylum Global. Asylum has become notorious for making knockoffs of Hollywood movies you used to rent when you were drunk at the video store—Transmorphers, Almighty Thor, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, and my personal favorite, Titanic II—but it seems that their newest movie, Age of the Hobbits, could be a step too far. Deadline reports:
“There is substantial likelihood that consumers will be confused by Age Of Hobbits and mistakenly purchase the film intending to purchase The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey“, said federal judge Philip Gutierrez today. “Indeed, Plaintiffs have presented evidence that Asylum’s other films have caused confusion among consumers, who mistakenly purchase Asylum films intending to purchase a different film”.
Earlier this year, Global Asylum was sued by Universal over the resemblance of their American Battleship to the studio’s big-budget Battleship. Commonly in these cases, the mockbuster producers cite fair use and artistic license to plead their point of view. But usually after all the legal filings and bluster, these cases end up being settled. Not this time.
I find it hard to believe that Warner Brothers is losing a significant source of Hobbit income to this:
But I admit that I am biased in favor of the mockbusters. I think pop culture knock offs (Go-Bots! Captain Marvel! Star Crash!) are an important part of the world of entertainment. Most of the time, they're unwatchable, sometimes they're so bad they're good, and every once in a while, there's genuine talent hidden somewhere inside. (Consider that Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro were Roger Corman finds, for instance.) These mockbusters are a genuine part of the ecosystem; someone's gotta be the bottom feeders.