The dispute over the future of The Godfather franchise is moving to federal court in Manhattan as Paramount Pictures and heirs of the story’s author face off at a hearing Thursday. The son of The Godfather creator Mario Puzo wants a judge to end Paramount’s rights to make future Godfather films. Lawyers for Anthony Puzo said in court papers that the company breached its contract when it tried in December to stop publication of The Family Corleone, a Godfather sequel that was published in May.
Paramount, which is owned by Viacom Inc., sued the late author’s estate in March, seeking a declaration that it automatically owned book publishing rights in any book that was a sequel to The Godfather. Paramount said in court papers that in 1969, it purchased from Puzo all rights and copyright interests in The Godfather, including all “literary” rights and rights to use any characters created for the story in “other works.” Mario Puzo died in 1999. READ FULL STORY »