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White Wolf still hounding Underworld

September 15th, 2003: Allan Sugarbaker says...
White Wolf still hounding Underworld

In case you missed it a few days back, White Wolf posted an update on their legal case against the makers of the movie Underworld (Sony Pictures, Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment). While it looks as though the movie won’t be stopped from reaching theaters, the press release states that “If the injunction is granted, defendants [Sony, etc] risk their ability to proliferate the Underworld brand in video, licenses and merchandising.” So, if you think Sony’s going to lose the case, you may want to catch the movie in theaters before it disappears for good.

14 Comments »

14 comments

  1. Alexander Williams says:

    I still maintain they’re about as likely to lose the case as the sun is to rise in the West, but … we shall see.

    I’m seeing it midnight Wednesday. 😉

  2. Pookie says:

    There was I thinking that Friday afternoon as I start up the projector, that I would have a solicitor/lawyer running in with an injunction and shouting, “Stop the machine! Stop the machine! You can’t show that movie!”

  3. Anyone else notice the similarity between Underworld’s movie poster (chick in long black coat, looking down from building outcropping, with full moon behind her) and the ads for that now-defunct WB show Birds of Prey (you guessed it: chick in long black coat, looking down from building outcropping, with full moon behind her)? TV Guide pointed it out, and finally resolved that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that was saying I’d seen the image before. Maybe Warner Brothers should go after Sony as well. 😉

  4. Jonathan L. says:

    Saw the full movie in a free advance showing on Monday. There are similarities to the WoD, and there are (some) differences. I have my opinions about whether Sony will win or lose, but I’ll keep them to myself. *** As for the flick itself, I thought it was long, with fights that were too short, and mediocre acting; it shows heavy anime influences late in the movie. It’s okay if you see it for free. If you’re paying for it, do yourself a favor and see a matinee.

  5. edmund says:

    Sony lose the case, ha don’t make me laugh. They are going to either quietly pay WW to go away, or bury them under so much counter litigation WW won’t be in a position to pester anyone ever again (I hope). COME ON SONY!

  6. Ghost says:

    perhaps Anne Rice should get into the ring and Sue White Wolf for stealing all her ideas.

    Then the Stoker family can sue Rice. Then the Romani people can sue the Stokers!

  7. Brian Peace says:

    The key argument has always been the movie’s similarity to a short story published in a WoD anthology. You can argue points about the generic WoD all you like, but the fact remains that the case seems to have some weight to it on that claim alone based on the points of similarity that have been stated.

    That said, the odds are that Sony will pay White Wolf off to just drop it. If they’re smart, they’ll take the money and laugh all the way to the bank.

  8. Dai Oni says:

    And yet I pray they get hit by a bus along the way. I blame my dark sense of humor. 😉

  9. JustAnotherRPGLurkerScum says:

    I would say that, on the one hand, WW getting the upper hand against Sony in this lawsuit is about as likely as “Kindred: the Embraced” is to being renewed, SciFi channel or no. Having said that, I do believe that there might be enough weight to the case that Sony might very well try to settle; issues of how ‘pure’ the World of Darkness is aside, I can’t name any property in the public domain that specifically describes vampires and werewolves existing in the same world and fighting each other, as opposed to taking turns hunting humans. In the same vein (no pun intended), does anyone else know of a licensed property older than the WoD that does describe such a world?
    I just think that, if WW has any sense, they’ll take whatever payoff Sony offers (hopefully a percentage of the brand’s profits and a tidy sum up front) and use it to finance another dive into the pop-culture realm. With the “K:tE” debacle behind them and quite a few lessons learned, maybe they’ll try one of their other, more unique game lines, like Mummy or Orpheus.
    It’s very much a pipe-dream, I know, but I fantasize about a Mage: the Ascention tv series (perhaps animated, to maximize the visual possibilities of the game) directed by JMS…

  10. Dai Oni says:

    I heard around the internet that an obscure french film that feature vampire vs werewolf. Others have mentioned an Abbot & Costello comedy episode. As for White Wolf, Mark Rein-Hagen was supposed to be the guy in charge of licensing their brands. He was even credited for the short-lived KINDRED: THE EMBRACED (a midseason replacement). He left WW, IIRC. They need a better licensing agent. IMHO, while the vampire mythos is popular in the mainstream, their particular brands of mythos is only known in the subculture like the goth community.

  11. Starhawk says:

    Having seen the movie, I don’t really see where White Wolf has a leg to stand on. The vampires and werewolves of UNDERWORLD are viral-based rather than based on a blood curse or the powers of Gaia as in WoD. There is no evidence of clan structures or anything of the sort that resembles WoD. I saw nothing that made me think of a WoD vampiric discipline or a werewolf power. It really didn’t make me think of the WoD at all. And FWIW, I thought the movie was worth seeing again.

  12. BLADE says:

    I agree with Starhawk:

    There is NO evidence that this resembles anything of the World of Darkness other than that Were-wolves and Vampires are in the same world. There is no Clan structure, no use of vampire disciplines or were-wolf powers other than Vampires more into fang sucking monsters and were-wolves turn into naked hairy beasts.

    We all know why White Wolf sued, they just wanted the publicity. If they make no money on this, they have already made a profit in bringing people’s attention to a small market company who makes Vampire and Were-wolf games, stories and rpgs!

  13. Dai Oni says:

    Don’t worry. Someone, somewhere, a gamer is probably scanning all the WoD products and putting them up in Kazaa, for the people’s convenience.

  14. Ante Lucem says:

    I AGREE COMPLETELY that Sony has a right to make a film about a war between vampires and werewolves. It’s sad, but WW HAD to put the generic similarities in to give the case more of a shot- i.e. they had to put the crap in as well because they didn’t know what the judge would take to. This isn’t ABOUT that. White Wolf does not claim to have invented vampires or werewolves or suchlike. This is about the blatant infringement of an author’s rights by a multinational company. Anyone who has actually read the case can see the similarities. Forget about any emmnity you have against WW. This author has had her work stolen and infringed upon.

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