Paramount Pictures is struggling to stop the publication of a new sequel to "The Godfather" novel series. The film studio has sued Anthony Puzo, the son and executor of late author Mario Puzo, and has been seeking damages and order barring the Puzo estate from publishing a third "Godfather" book called "The Family Corleone" in July 2012.
On Friday, February 17, Paramount filed a complaint at federal court in Manhattan, New York, claiming that it has bought the copyright to Mario Puzo's novel in 1969, which granted the studio "the sole and exclusive right: to make and cause to be made literary and dramatic and other versions and adaptations of every kind and character."
Paramount claimed that it owned the rights to "The Godfather Returns", which was published by Random House in 2004 following Mario Puzo's death in 1999. A second book, "The Godfather's Revenge", was published without the studio's authorization in 2006. The studio insisted that it is trying to "protect the integrity and reputation of 'The Godfather' trilogy."
The studio, which is located in Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, stated in its complaint, "Far from properly honoring the legacy of 'The Godfather', the unauthorized 'The Godfather's Revenge' tarnished, and in the process, also mislead consumers with advertising, marketing, and promotional material related to the first and second sequel novels."
Responding to the issue, Puzo estate's lawyer Bertram Fields dubbed the suit as "a sneak attack." He said in a phone interview, "For Paramount to do this to Mario Puzo's children after the tens of millions of dollars he made for the studio is outrageous." He added, "Paramount and its executives should be ashamed." The lawyer explained that the 1969 agreement between the late author and the studio didn't give up Puzo's right to publish sequels.
The original "Godfather" novel was adapted into 1972's movie, which won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. Mario Puzo co-wrote the script, with Francis Ford Coppola serving behind the lens. The phenomenal mob film stars the likes of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton.