Warner Bros And Benjamin Button

This  story is a huge belly laugh.

Benjamin button is a 1921 story by Scott Fitzgerald in which he channels edgar alan poe(or those newfangled french science fiction writers, such as jules verne), writing about a case of a Louisiana born child that ages backwards.

It was made into a Hollywood film by David fincher, as a showcase of classic Hollywood movie making, probably in response to reports that the alternate Oscar bait for the year was Danny  Boyle’s  Slumdog Millionaire. It starred Brad Pitt,who must be at least as popular internationally as James Bond  is, in a role reminiscent of one of Pierce Brosnan’s moody essays. The film also evoked all the charm of a John Irving novel, which is to say it was more serious than winning, and seemed to have very little point to it other than screaming out aloud “OSCAR ME!!”.

I loved the film for all its conceits and pretensions.

Now jumpcut to Akshay Kumar. Dude is an erstwhile Shilpa shetty beau, whose living down the fact that the much in circulation Ms Shetty is now with a British Indian billionaire, Drowns his sorrow making some of the biggest Indian kistch films with Salman Khan’s May  September girlfriend-fiance…whatever…Katrina Kaif, who is one of the few mannequins in bollywood that looks so consistently good in tanktops and cocktail dresses, that she’s made it a profession , nearly a genre, singlehandedly.

Akshay’s producer for the film, called “Action Replay”, is vipul shah , classical bollywood as they come, and an Akshay loyalist (made Singh is Kinggg and Namastey London with him) , is the color of Bollywood money all the way.

The genesis of this clash  looks to be multifarious. Warner brothers distributed the Rohan Sippy produced, disaster “Chandni Chowk to China ” starring the same Akshay Kumar , acting  the combination of a buffoon and a monkey in an attempt (for his character, and presumably the film) to crossover from bollywood to china, thus setting back indo chinese movie relations at least to pre cultural revolution days(when they were fairly good relations, really,). A disaster all round except that it made a shitload of money for everyone. Apparently critical failures can be box office successes whouda thunk.

Mr Kumar making Button(or a film about a   dude aging in reverse to the sound of blonde girls in cocktail dresses gyrating near film sets made to resemble, simultaneously  a broadway stage , a designer bathtub and a five star hotel urinal, must have so had warner brother quaking in their chaddis that they decided enough was enough. this lyin’ cheatin’ plagaristic piracy canna go on…. begorrah,

but I somehow don’t think this is so.

Copyright grab

This seems to me to be a desperate grab at a lost cause by one of hollywood’s biggest studios. Sometime in the past three years, Sowbiz industry lobbyists got a copyright law rewritten to bring back into copyright  “national treasures” such as Disney films based on fairy tales. This remarkable piece of cultural land grab was called Copyright term extension act(or the Sonny Bono Act), gave works made after 1923  a fixed term extension of copyright until 2018. 95 years .

Now What does this have to do with Button you ask?  I wonder who holds the copyright to the Scot Fitzgerald story, because surely if this were a piece of literature in public domain, anyone could make a version of it , even Akshay Kumar’s Blondes.

So what is Warner Bro’s motivation to go sue Akshay kumar;s producer in New delhi, of all places? My personal theory(and I do not have an inside source) is that the legal department of Hollywood studios’ Indian operations(and every one of them has a big Indian operation these days) is getting set to roar.

A big part of doing entertainment commerce in the third world is fighting  well established local competition, who understand the discrepencies between copyright regimes very well, and have been gaming the system to their benefit for years. After all, American films have been distributed in India china or the South east of asia for a century , now.

Part of the success of a  business model of the Strongly local(to LA) hollywood film  business, is the ability to be able to “remote control” the production distribution and collection of entertainment products and revenue, through the use of highly paid professionals in peripheral services(media, Journalism, law, accounting etc) who keep the busines environment friendly by influencing laws and practices beneficial to the remote overlord( Warner Bros, in this case).

In my view Warner bros believes that the time is ripe,( given the Indian producers strike and all) to help change the Indian legal framework in copyrights to align it more with the(Hollywood studio friendly) American regime of laws and practices.

So its not as if button is not LEGAL to reproduce in red dancing shoes, or even in BAD TASTE, its merely that Jabba the Hut (c) is displeased.

( (C) the george lucas empire).)


About rameshram

Name : Ramesh Ram... Email Address : Cdrakenc@gmail.com (don't even ask) Blog: (never updated) http://ramesh.journalspace.com Height/ Weight: 6'1 175 (varies between 160 and 185) Color of hair/ eyes black/ brown Bald? Nope (not yet, but give me 20 years.) Interests: Film (Bollywood/international indie), Travel (Germany/Japan/Central America/Sout/east/west Asia/ Northern Africa), Gizmo geek, Clubbing... What do I like in a good movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. What do I like in a bad movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. Favorite Critic: International: Bazin Domestic: J Hobermann Indian : me. (noone else comes close ...India or here..) Best quality: Humility. Outspokenness. Warmth Worst quality: Intolerence Favorite color : Yellow Black Blue Favorite Perfume : men: Grey Flannel(Geoffery Beene) Women: Celine dion: Obsession Boxers / briefs : Boxers Did I inhale: And how! Author: Marquiz, Rushdie, Murakami, Jong Last Book: The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt Music : Patricia Kass, Alejandro Sanz,Nina Simone, Amir Diab Sports person: uh..me? What am I usually in : White briefs and tees. Chianti or Burgandy: Chianti Food: French Japanese(street/fast food). Saw and liked: No Country for old men, Lust Caution Saw and disliked: Nishabd Didnt see: Aaja Nach le. Call me: Write me first.
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3 Responses to Warner Bros And Benjamin Button

  1. Oh, I thought that Action Replay was supposed to be a remake of Back to the Future, but thank god it’s not. WB recently lost a suit when they tried to sue a Bollywood prod company for “Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Errors,” claiming it was a rip-off of Harry Potter, when clearly it wasn’t.

  2. karigai says:

    Topic of short fiction adaptation is hot this week. You should know. You just now hauled up the (self-confessed) chauvinist on his apparent misogyny (cue his Naan Fiction passed thru the prism of his Jodi Breakers commentspace). 🙂

    (Jumpcutting to Br osnon’s moody essays) “Mr Misogynist” writes of Namaste London “..it just can’t pick a mood and stick with it.” The movie is much like its heroine, it seems. Hmpf! And they really button down the buffoon in this one, the poor guy! Akshay Kumar absolutely shoulda slapped Katrina Kaif (“one of the few mannequins in bollywood that looks so consistently good in tanktops and cocktail dresses, that she’s made it a profession , nearly a genre”), singlehandedly.

    • rameshram says:

      my personal opinion? the misogynists are part of the dark side of the force. I bet darth vader was a mysogynist.

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