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Golden Compass sues documentary

TheGoldenCompass.jpgIf there's ever a single most promising way to make a piece of entertainment successful it's by banning it or trying to ban it, we see it with songs and music videos all the time, so the news that New Line is trying to ban a documentary on The Golden Compass through the courts is probably the most exciting news for the documentary makers.

More than anything it means free publicity. So let me oblige the film-makers from Koch Entertainment for their not very controversial sounding documentary Beyond the Golden Compass: The Magic of Philip Pullman.

Actually what strikes you most about reading this story, and from the very moment you read the title, is that it appears to have less to do with the film and more to do with Philip Pullman and his novel.

Here's what New Line's lawsuit says through Reuters and :

“In a cynical and transparent effort to unfairly compete with (and) capitalize on the massive publicity and promotional effort attendant to the upcoming release of plaintiff's film, and in complete disregard of plaintiff's exclusive rights in the underlying materials, defendants have produced and are marketing and distributing the infringing video.”

Wow, heaven forbid a project competes with and tries to capitalise with another, isn't that happening all the time in Hollywood? Is this just because this is a smaller studio and are more susceptible to legal action?

Studios release similar films all the time, as soon as there's one type of film in production from studio X, studio Y leaps in and starts hammering away at the keyboard racing to beat the other project. Just look at the Pablo Escobar project for a prime example.

They are also moaning about the marketing materials being “similar” to the ones for Golden Compass.

So what's all the fuss about this new documentary? Well no one really knows, the film-makers seem equally as confused as they deny that they've copied the marketing style and claim that the documentary is more about the book than the film, although it is coinciding with the release of the film.

I don't get it. What's so wrong about the documentary being released? Do they really believe it's going to pull away from the target audience for the film? Or is there something in the documentary that is less than complimentary about it and perhaps detracts from the film, so much so that New Line are concerned that the film's box office takings might just be harmed?



As someone who accidentally bought the "direct to video" Snakes on a Train released the same week as the DVD I'd meant to buy, or who got conned into buying some truly dreadful (worse than home-made stuff I could have done myself) Lord of the Rings "documentaries" when those films were big I can see where New Line are coming from.

It's easy to blame New Line for playing the bully boy of course but it must be pretty galling to spend all that money and then see truly dreadful product piggy-backed onto your material.

If the film takes off as New Line hopes fans will want anything they can get their hands on and suddenly DVDs of what could well be a truly appalling documentary could be everywhere.

Of course I haven't seen the documentary so can't comment, but as is usually the case with these things there are two sides to the story.
Admittedly if it's



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Movable Type 3.34

No intelligent person could make this film.
- Andrew O'Hagan, Daily Telegraph critic, on Pearl Harbour