Asylum Being Taken To Court by Universal Over ‘Battleship’

by on April 28, 2012

in Entertainment

Asylum Home EntertainmentUniversal is taking Asylum to court for false advertising, copyright infringement and unfair competition.  And I say it’s about time.

Universal is suing Global Asylum because Asylum has done it again.  It’s gone off and made a quickie knockoff movie to capitalize on a mainstream movie coming to theaters.  In this case, Asylum’s big mistake was making a knockoff of Battleship and called it American Battleship, and you’ll never guess what it’s about, as it stars Mario (I need a job) Van Peebles and Carl (desperately needs a job) Weathers.  (I mean why do these movies unless some of the cast is under some kind of contractual requirement.)

american battleship from asylum“When a fleet of mysterious ships wage war against the Earth, only the crew of the USS Iowa, the last American battleship, can prevent global Armageddon.”

Universal’s lawsuit quotes trademark confusion, saying that these “mockblusters” confuse trademarked images and relationships, plus it can diminish the millions that the larger studios put into their products.  Asylum on the other hand, admits to going after and mocking big studio titles because “They have the most audience awareness‘”

Plus one of the tricks in their “bag” of tricks is that when Syfy aired their copycat movies, they’d premiere them on TV the same weekend that the real movie would premiere in the real world.

Universal also made the observation that because of the closeness of titles, that consumers are fooled by these look-alikes.

“is intended to and does confuse consumers as to the source or origin of Global Asylum’s productions by causing consumers to believe they are the same as or associated with contemporaneously released blockbuster films from major motion picture studios.”

But apparently freedom of speech and what not makes it hard to press and win lawsuits of this nature.  Fox attacked Asylum over their knockoff, Day the Earth Stopped but I don’t think they made any progress with that one.

Maybe lawsuits are tough to win, but consumers can take take a stand.

When the Syfy channel aired the knockoff, Battle of Los Angeles, I had barely recovered from Almighty Thor, where Thor wielded an Uzi to fight evil.

'Battle of Los Angeles' from asylum

abraham lincoln vs zombies from asylumI used to be a diehard Syfy channel fan, but after the absolutely horrid Battle of Los Angeles, (and a few other changes to the net) which came out the same weekend the other like-named movie premiered, I quit them for a while and checked out BBC America on Saturday nights.  (BBC has some pretty good stuff over there if you’re missing your sci fi or fantasy stuff!)  It was the only thing I could do to rebel against such obvious chicanery was to boycott for a while.

But it is shameful what Asylum makes.  Check out this list of winning titles…

  • Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (coming out May 29th),
  • Transmorphers (hundreds of androids, all looking the same, walking around stiffly),
  • Almighty Thor (Thor uses an Uzi ),
  • Battle of Los Angeles (Possibly the most horrible movie I’ve ever seen),
  • The Da Vinci Treasure,
  • Grimm’s Snow White (but the movie poster, Grimm is very hard to see),
  • Snakes on a Train,
  • Day the Earth Stopped,
  • Titanic II,
  • Paranormal Entity,
  • Princess of Mars (horrible effects),
  • Dragonquest,
  • Street Racer,
  • 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea,
  • Universal Soldiers

grimms snow white from asylumAnd onward…

It’s a pretty sad list of scraper movie titles… but it’s not a new idea/process.  You see these kinds of practices in every business.  Some, not as obvious as this, the entertainment industry.  But it works for them!  Or they wouldn’t keep doing what they do.

We’ll see where this goes from here… and yea, I’m probably going to go see Battleship in theaters.  I sort of need my armored alien and machine action.  (I’m trying not to say the obvious!)



Here’s a cute update (5-1-12)… Asylum responded to the lawsuit with the following:

The Global Asylum has promoted the feature film American Battleship for nearly a year while Universal raised no concerns. The timing of Universal’s recently filed lawsuit coincides with mixed reviews of its big-budget film, Battleship — the first movie based on a board game since Clue. Looking for a scapegoat, or more publicity, for its pending box-office disaster, the executives at Universal filed this lawsuit in fear of a repeat of the box office flop, John Carter of Mars. The Universal action is wholly without merit and we will vigorously defend their claims in Court. Nonetheless, we appreciate the publicity.

It’s true, this kind of noise creates the classic, no press is bad press, kind of situation.  Though, if you look carefully at the Asylum response and their dig at Universal, they seem to think that John Carter was a Universal product and not the Disney product it was.  (And they even called it by the wrong title.  Can’t win for losing some days.)  [Deadline]



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