Entertainment lawsuit filed over “The Godfather” contract dispute

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

The film adaptation of “The Godfather” is, without a doubt, on the list of many Miami cinephiles’ “best of” lists. It’s the movie that helped make Francis Ford Coppola a respected filmmaker and it gave rise to several sequels.

There has been some talk in Hollywood about a new installment in the Corleone family saga, but Paramount, the studio behind “The Godfather,” recently filed an entertainment lawsuit over the issue, putting it in danger.

Mario Puzo, who wrote the novel “The Godather,” sold the film rights to Paramount in 1969. He was paid $50,000. “The Godfather” film franchise went on to generate around $1 billion in revenues (according to an estimate from Puzo’s estate, anyway) and it seems the disconnect between what Puzo was paid and the money “The Godfather” went on to generate caused relations between Puzo and Paramount to sour.

So, when Puzo’s estate tried to publish a new book, “The Family Corleone,” Paramount sued, claiming that this would “tarnish” the legacy of “The Godfather.” Recently, Puzo’s estate countersued, claiming that Paramount was unjustly tainting its ability to publish further books and continue making money.

(It seems fair to note that even though publication of the novel is important in and of itself, it seems like Paramount does not want a new studio to get rights to a future “Godfather” film, and Puzo’s estate wants the freedom to sell those rights to anyone it wants.)

At this stage, only time will tell how this case turns out. We are keeping an eye on it and will updated Miami readers if there are any interesting new developments in the future.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Puzo Estate Asks Judge to Take Away Paramount’s Rights to More ‘Godfather’ Films,” Eriq Gardner, Sept. 4, 2012