Crimezine understands there will be no horses heads delivered from Don Corleone this spring, but Paramount Pictures is taking Mario Puzo’s estate to court, in a fight to prevent publication of a prequel novel to the celebrated Godfather trilogy. OK, Crimezine knows the last film in the series was rubbish, but presumably Paramount is anxious not to compound this mistake, by sanctioning further Godfather mis-steps.
Paramount claims it bought the copyright to The Godfather in 1969 and that the estate’s plans to publish a prequel this summer infringe it. Paramount is seeking damages and an injunction against publication of the novel.
The book Family Corleone due out in July, is based on an un-filmed screenplay by Puzo, which has been tarted up for publication by the American author and playwright Ed Falco. Set in 1933, it traces Vito Corleone’s journey, as he becomes the Don of The Godfather. Announcing its publication last year, Anthony Puzo called it “true to Mario Puzo’s legacy”—the author died in 1999, aged 78—adding that it would “be cherished by all Godfather fans”.
Paramount, which made the three Godfather movies, claims it authorized only one sequel novel to The Godfather—2004’s The Godfather’s Return. The 2006 publication of a second sequel, The Godfather’s Revenge, was it claims, published without knowledge or authorization. The book received mediocre reviews and sold poorly. Paramount believes that rather than honoring the legacy of The Godfather the book tarnished it. Apparently the new legal action is an attempt to protect the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy.
Paramount states that in a 1969 agreement Puzo signed away all rights to The Godfather novel except for the right to publish the original novel in book form.
Puzo wrote The Godfather when he was broke and desperate for money, once saying “I wished like hell I’d written it better”. Today, it has sold more than 21m copies.
Los Angeles lawyer Bertram Fields is quoted as saying “For Paramount to do this to Mario Puzo’s children, after the tens of millions of dollars he made for the studio is outrageous.”
Random House, which is due to publish The Family Corleone in the summer, did not comment on the legal action.