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MacGyver creator seeks to stop MacGruber movie
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MacGyverOnline
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 09:20 AM                                    
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The THR,Esq. blog of The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that lawyers for MacGyver creator, Lee Zlotoff, have sent cease-and-desist letters to Relativity Media, the studio that produced the “MacGruber” film.

Paul Mayersohn, a lawyer for Mr. Zlotoff, told The Hollywood Reporter, “We feel they’re infringing our rights.” Mr. Mayersohn added that he's meeting with litigators to determine a course of action, which might include filing a copyright and/or trademark lawsuit and attempting to get an injunction against the film's release.

Other legal experts told the publication that the MacGruber film may be protected under free speech and fair use laws.

The article also speculates that this case has an interesting twist, because both films are being developed simultaneously with the parody being set to release before the original giving rise to the question of whether the parody could impact the market for the original, which is one of the considerations for fair use. Lee Zlotoff's lawyer indicated that an unfair competition claim could also be part of their lawsuit.

This also revives hope that the MacGyver movie is still being worked on and hasn't been forgotten as many fans had feared.

Read full article here


 
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Traveller
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 10:46 AM                                    
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Well, well, well. Mr. Zlotov is finally awake. A bit late, I'm afraid. The MacGruber folks will welcome this publicity for their movie.
Not only is Zlotov's timing awful, it also doesn't help much that MacGyver himself aka RDA has willingly and gleefully participated in the MacGruber skits on SNL.
I'd say that weakens Zlotov's case considerably.



 
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Traveller
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 10:49 AM                                    
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Sorry, I meant Zlotoff, not Zlotov (Zlotov is the one that makes a mighty fine wodka in the barn behind my house).

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 11:11 AM                                    
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A 90 second skit on SNL is a lot different to a full theatrical released movie and from what I understand the law suit is regarding the movie only, not the skits on SNL, so RDA's appearance on the skits has no bearing on this case, which is all about copyright.

I actually got the impression from the Hollywood Reporter article that this legal battle had been going on for some while, that may just be me mis-interpreting it, I don't know.

 
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Beachbead
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 11:32 AM                                    
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Heck ya, I hope the MacGruber movie gets shut down.

 
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WhatMeWorry?
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 11:42 AM                                    
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YESSSSSS!!!!! Take that MacGruber! boxing.gif

 
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Lothithil
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 04:23 PM                                    
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Wow! I was wondering about that. Thanks for posting this, Rock.

 
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MacBeth
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 07:37 PM                                    
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Yes, I saw the article also. More power to Zlotoff, I'm thinking. The article I read also mentioned that the MacGruber movie was doing very badly with test audiences. And SNL-based flicks have a truly awful box office track record . . . even if the case goes nowhere very fast, it might just scuttle the damned MacGruber film, or at least sideline it indefinitely. I'm certainly hoping it does.

 
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Traveller
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 09:27 PM                                    
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QUOTE
A 90 second skit on SNL is a lot different to a full theatrical released movie and from what I understand the law suit is regarding the movie only, not the skits on SNL, so RDA's appearance on the skits has no bearing on this case, which is all about copyright.


Yes, they are different. Still, the movie is a spinoff from the SNL skits, without them there wouldn't be a movie, and if I were a lawyer for the MacGruber camp I would point to the fact that MacGyver teamed up with MacGruber. I think I could use that to my advantage.
Even if the lawsuit is about copyright, you know as well as I do that lawyers always come up with circumstantial evidence to help their case, and I wouldn't be surprised if they will use this.

 
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MacDriver
Posted: 4 February 2010 - 10:23 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Traveller @ 4 February 2010 - 09:27 PM)
[QUOTE A 90 second skit on SNL is a lot different to a full theatrical released movie and from what I understand the law suit is regarding the movie only, not the skits on SNL, so RDA's appearance on the skits has no bearing on this case, which is all about copyright.]

Yes, they are different. Still, the movie is a spinoff from the SNL skits, without them there wouldn't be a movie, and if I were a lawyer for the MacGruber camp I would point to the fact that MacGyver teamed up with MacGruber. I think I could use that to my advantage.
Even if the lawsuit is about copyright, you know as well as I do that lawyers always come up with circumstantial evidence to help their case, and I wouldn't be surprised if they will use this.

Yeah I agree, that certainly, even if irrelevant to the case, would still impact the case if mentioned, I would imagine.

So, I agree Rocky that this tells us Zlotoff isn't completely asleep at the wheel. I am of the mind that the MacGruber movie cannot hurts things at all if allowed to proceed. I personally feel that it would be a more natural order to have the clowns and jesters come out and warm up the audience with some B-movie antics before unveiling the masterpiece. However, I hope Zlotoff isn't intimidated by the movie. It's plain greed and fear to me if he can't move over and make room for something that isn't attempting to take the place of MacGyver at all.As for copyright, I mean heck, surely they got permission to use the MacGyver credit scenes for the skits on television- any fan immediately recognizes the opening credits from MacGruber. Then the name was clearly changed, the nature of the character is radically different, it's a different genre- I mean, what, is it going to be a likeness lawsuit? I just don't see the likeness or infringement. I'd obviously have to see the movie to be sure, but in what episode did Mac fire guns? (Okay, trick question tongue.gif ) Or assemble a team? Or act like a blistering idiot? I mean really, what case does Zlotoff have? Surely Loaded Weapon didn't have to get permission to spoof Lethal Weapon, and that one was even more similar in my book, as in, allusions to specific events and scenes from the Lethal Weapon films.

This news also douses the hope I had burning that RDA might cameo in the film, since he had done so for SNL. I hope to see the movie still materialize, it will only go to further the movie, whenever slowpoke Zlotoff makes it, in my humble opinion.

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 08:50 AM                                    
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I just read that Universal has scheduled MacGruber for a premiere at March’s SXSW Movie Festival, so they must quite sure of themselves.

I think also that the real copyright issue will come down to what, if any, likenesses to the show are contained in the movie. Does it have a DXS, phoenix foundation, HIT or similar organizations? Does it have signage or images similar to those seen in the show? Or is it simply that this movie is perceived to be able to impact on the real MacGyver movie when it gets released? I think those will be the deciding issues in this case... mind you they will only be issues if they are part of Zlotoffs original conception of the show I guess.

Talk about complex! blink.gif

 
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Beachbead
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 01:31 PM                                    
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You know i hope RDA doesn't make a cameo in the movie, i just can't see RDA haveing anything to do with it since I saw the trailer, MacGruber is everything that MaGyver is not. meaning MacGyver is more of a man then MacGruber will ever be.

 
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SHEILA
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 02:42 PM                                    
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It is however possable that RDA couls shoe up at the premere of the movie. As far as I read RDA liked doing the MacGruber skits. I do hope the MacGyver movie gets made and that everthing works out for everyone.

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 03:27 PM                                    
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Well RDA isn't listed in the IMDb cast listing for the MacGruber movie and I think we would have heard about it from his website or some other source if he was in fact involved in the movie in any way, usually we hear about his appearances before they happen.

QUOTE
It is however possable that RDA couls shoe up at the premere of the movie.

Wouldn't it be great if he did see the movie and hated it, and it sparked him into action to get behind a MacGyver movie to "fix the wrongs created by the MacGruber movie"

boxing.gif

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 04:12 PM                                    
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Seems like this whole situation is creating world-wide publicity for the MacGruber movie.

It's now a news story in New Zealand dry.gif


Might not be quite the effect Lee Zlutoff was hoping for.


 
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MacBeth
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 06:47 PM                                    
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Hmmm. Out of twenty-one comments to that article alone, four were positive about the MacGruber movie and the rest dismissed or dissed the idea. And two of them suggested that, since the idea is pirated, they might as well download the movie for free.

If those proportions are representative at all, the producers might end up looking for a good excuse to pull the plug on the movie before they lose their shirts. How about a straight-to-DVD release, followed by swift legal oblivion?

They can try to split hairs and insist that it isn't really an infringement on the MacGyver name and concept -- but I don't see it getting very far.

 
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Agent MacGyver!
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 08:58 PM                                    
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http://www.movieline.com/2010/02/macgruber...ay-about-it.php

here is another article on it. This claims they had been working on the MacGyver movie for a year, and zlotoff has been sending cease-and desist letters for a while now.

lately I have been thinking, when macgruber comes out and fails, people will leave the theaters saying, "man, I sure do miss the real MacGyver" and that will draw a crowd for the real one.

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 5 February 2010 - 11:04 PM                                    
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I'd love to see the premier in March get really negative feedback.. or even better, the audience starts leaving. evil.gif


In all honesty I don't think I would be so negative about it if I could see that it was intelligent, clever humor, but instead all I'm seeing is toilet humor and I actually don't think it's worthy of it's subject.

I just found an interesting little bit in wikipedia about the fair use law which links to the Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. case which was the defining "Fair Use" case in US law.

The Wiki also lead me to the actual fair use code which the whole case will be worked around I guess.

QUOTE (TITLE 17 - 107 : Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use)
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.


 
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Beachbead
Posted: 7 February 2010 - 06:14 AM                                    
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MacGguber super bowl ads which looks like it's just scences from when RDA showed up, all they did was change up some words and scenes.

MacGguber super bowl ads

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 7 February 2010 - 08:48 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Agent MacGyver! @ 5 February 2010 - 09:58 PM)
lately I have been thinking, when macgruber comes out and fails, people will leave the theaters saying, "man, I sure do miss the real MacGyver" and that will draw a crowd for the real one.

Except most people who go to see the movie won't have watched MacGyver, and therefore won't miss it at all.

I think a more likely effect will be that it will prevent people from going to see a MacGyver film because they will associate it to the bad MacGruber movie. And I'm assuming that might be something Lee Zlutoff will be thinking about with his law suit now that some feedback is coming in from test groups about the movie, and it's not very good.




 
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MacBeth
Posted: 7 February 2010 - 03:52 PM                                    
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QUOTE
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Three hard strikes right there. The use is entirely commercial, it is entirely derivative in its origins, and the potential market impact is immediate and significant. I think there's even room for a claim that a MacGruber movie would be a debasement of the original material -- it's going far, far beyond the brief and light parody of the skits and the commercials. It could even be an example of where the line can be drawn between parody and debasement.

 
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MacDriver
Posted: 8 February 2010 - 12:37 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Agent MacGyver! @ 5 February 2010 - 08:58 PM)
lately I have been thinking, when macgruber comes out and fails, people will leave the theaters saying, "man, I sure do miss the real MacGyver" and that will draw a crowd for the real one.

+1

The entirety of my interest is along these lines- but as Rocky pointed out a good number of people probably didn't catch it the first time around and may base their opinion of MacGyver on this frat pack-esque typical SNL-style inappropriate humor. I kinda would like to see what would happen. I mean it's all speculation but my thinking I suppose is that no publicity is bad publicity. I thought that was the golden rule in Hollywood? Perhaps not.

 
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macgyversgirl
Posted: 8 February 2010 - 05:23 AM                                    
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I'm glad the Mr.Zlotoff is doing this. I think that MacGruber is a mockery and insult to MacGyver's legacy. And as far as a MacGyver movie it too would be a waste without Rick. Rick made MacGyver come alive and there is no one on this earth who could play that character and do it any justice. In my humble opinion to try and make a MacGyver movie without Rick would be a gross injustice and an abomination. MacG.gif

 
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angus20
Posted: 10 February 2010 - 05:04 AM                                    
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well i see that coming, maybe after all this it's just good publicity.

 
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MacGyverGod
Posted: 12 February 2010 - 10:25 PM                                    
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Either this is at last or either too late. My hopes are for at last. An official release of MacGruber might be avoided but a direct to dvd release? I don't know. Let's see what this brings in. I don't think I would mind a parody if it comes after the actual film.

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 12 February 2010 - 10:59 PM                                    
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Actually I'm starting to hope he does get it stopped. I've been pondering this over the last couple of days and to be really honest, I'm getting concerned that this movie is being publicized as a parody of MacGyver.

From the trailers, there doesn't seem to be a hell of a lot of actual making fun of MacGyver in this movie. It's more like they've made an anti-MacGyver. Swearing and toilet humor is not parody and if a judge also has that thought Mr Zlutoffs case could well go the same way as a bomb being disarmed by MacIdiot.. oops...I mean MacGruber. On the other hand the judge could see that argument as making MacGruber potentially damaging to Zlutoffs movie (because all it portrays is swearing and toilet humor) and pull the plug on MacGruber - lets hope so.


 
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MacDriver
Posted: 13 February 2010 - 05:11 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Rockatteer @ 12 February 2010 - 10:59 PM)
From the trailers, there doesn't seem to be a hell of a lot of actual making fun of MacGyver in this movie. It's more like they've made an anti-MacGyver. Swearing and toilet humor is not parody...

I hadn't thought of it quite that way, but I agree with you. Now that I really think about it, movies that are parodies that I love like hot shots, loaded weapon, Scary Movie, etc. are all funny because the demeanor of the character stays the same but is exaggerated. MacGruber could be funner if MacGyver was walking into extremely dangerous inner city situations blissfully oblivious to the danger- or like that Rambo scene from UHF, walking slowly toward a man firing full auto at him. Things like that play up the mild lack of reality from the original because it's pointing out with exaggeration what you subconsciously already think- aka "MacGyver probably couldn't have just run away from getting shot at by 10 trained soldiers (The Gauntlet)" etc.

Then your point is quite true that this movie instead creates a different person entirely. So I suppose it could be a funny movie if taken for a standalone comedy, but they could just as easily have made it a genre parody of all action movies, not tried to associate it with MacGyver, and it would have been fine. But, the movie was obviously developed as a spinoff of the SNL sketch which started with the right scenario- ticking time bomb, locked in a room etc- but then used the wrong kind of (typical SNL) humor to really make it much of a true parody.

I am interested in hearing someday (if the movie is shot down) what (if any) true parodies were made in the film. Like that scene at the end of the PG trailer, there is a joke made about him not wanting to pay for a parking meter- not all that unlike the MasterCard commercial where Mac spends very little on his supplies (in contrast to the usual exorbitant spending in those commercials). Funny, in RDA's commentary of that commercial, he said he was drawn to participate because it was done respectfully- yet he was happy to portray Mac as the womanizing dead beat dad on MacGruber- so that kinda shocked me- the MacGruber movie would have seemed like even more of a stretch had he not done that. Anyway, I hope it has a lot of true parody content- it's possible that the 2:00 we've seen of the movie doesn't do true justice to the whole thing- but unlikely. Only time will really tell on that.

 
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Beachbead
Posted: 16 February 2010 - 08:47 AM                                    
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I do hope they pull the plug on this movie as well.

 
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Rockatteer
Posted: 5 April 2010 - 01:33 PM                                    
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I guess Lee Zlutoff hasn't had much luck with his legal action. They've just released the official poster for the MacGruber movie.

user posted image

 
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MacGyverGod
Posted: 5 April 2010 - 09:42 PM                                    
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I like the black and the smoke too bad it's for the wrong film.

 
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Beachbead
Posted: 20 April 2010 - 04:29 AM                                    
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I've read some place that SNL is stateing that the MacGuber movie is just a mere hoax.

 
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Beachbead
Posted: 20 April 2010 - 10:33 AM                                    
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Saw something on tv where the cast of MacGruber will be showing up on WWE NXT trying to promopt there new and crapie movie.

 
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macgyversgirl
Posted: 22 April 2010 - 08:39 AM                                    
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That was WWE Monday Night RAW. The movie is crap and so is the whole MacGruber concept. In my humble opinion its realease won't ruin the MacGyver movie and more than it will ruin itself if they make it without Rick. MacG.gif

 
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Posted: 27 April 2010 - 06:42 PM                                    
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Well looks like they are full steam ahead, and here is their new trailer:

http://iamrogue.com/macgruber/

It doesn't say "select theaters" so this sounds like it will be a full blown mainstream release to all theaters.

 
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Posted: 21 July 2010 - 03:54 PM                                    
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I read the review of MacGruber in my local paper. The reviewer didn't say anything about it being a parody of the show, and it sounds like it bears very little similarity to MacGyver. I think it was pretty much a bomb.

 
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MacBeth
Posted: 22 July 2010 - 03:21 PM                                    
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Check out this thread in the Loft for more discussion on the movie. It died a swift, well-deserved and humiliating death.

 
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