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Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

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Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

Old 09-11-18, 01:22 PM
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Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

I came upon this article over the weekend. It’s a little crazy:
On the surface, Wayne's World 2 might have seemed like a lighthearted sequel to the massively popular buddy comedy starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. But behind the scenes, the lead-up to production was rife with in-fighting — so much that, at one point, it left the film’s star curled up in a fetal position on the couch of one of Hollywood's biggest execs.

In his new biography of legendary studio chief Sherry Lansing, Leading Lady (out April 25 from Crown Archetype), THR editor Stephen Galloway writes that the then-Paramount chairman made an unfortunate discovery weeks before shooting was due to commence: Myers had heavily based the sequel on the 1949 British comedy Passport to Pimlico — only nobody had bought the underlying rights.

"Mike had always wanted to do Passport to Pimlico as the basis of Wayne's World," said SNL creator Lorne Michaels, who produced the comedy. "So he went and wrote it. I think he believed the studio understood that, and I think he even believed they had bought the rights to the other movie so that he was free to use it."

If the movie had entered into production sans rights, the Pimlico rights holders could have barred the new film from being released; but if Paramount had tried to obtain the rights at that late stage, the process could have taken months, horribly delaying production. Promotional materials and the marketing campaign for the movie would have had to be scrapped at a major cost to the studio.

The only feasible option was to completely rewrite the script.

Furious, Lansing summoned Myers to her office and told him exactly that — in much different (and harsher) words. Remembers one participant in the Myers-Lansing meeting: "She said, 'How dare you? How dare you put us in this position?' She turned to Mike and said, 'We'll sue you. We'll take your f—ing house. You won’t even own a f—ing home.'"

The verbal scathing went on, with Lansing adding a special twist, as then-production chief John Goldwyn recalled: "She made up this fabulous story about all of the lawyers sitting with [Paramount Communications executive] Stanley Jaffe. She said, 'As I'm sitting here with you, there's a team figuring out how they can take every single thing away from you.'"

Myers believed it, and was so shaken that he curled up in a fetal position on Lansing's couch.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...g-house-994864

Her behavior towards Meyers seems more than a little over the top. But more than that, what’s the big deal? As far as I can tell, what he was doing in the original screenplay is something that happens frequently. Mission Impossible 2 borrows just about every plot point from Hitchcock’s Notorious. They didn’t have to buy the rights to that film to make MI2. Or take Rashoman as an example. In the 70’s and 80’s every tv comedy did a version of Rashoman. Different Strokes actually has an episode in the 6th season with the title Rashoman. No one ever had to buy the rights to do that.

No one had to buy the rights to James Bond or Matt Helm to make Austin Powers.

I think there’s more to the story. Like the studio thought it was too different from the original film and they bullied him into writing something more like the first.

Last edited by Mabuse; 09-11-18 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 09-11-18, 01:25 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

From Wikipedia regarding the original script.

Myers' original script for Wayne's World 2 had Wayne and Garth forming their own country and seceding from the US after finding an ancient scroll, in a story taken from the 1949 British comedy Passport to Pimlico.
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Old 09-11-18, 01:29 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

I would have liked to have seen that. Guess that second season Family Guy episode was close enough.
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Old 09-11-18, 01:43 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

That's not a bad idea for a third movie with an older Wayne and Garth.
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Old 09-11-18, 01:44 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

You still need to forethought to do due diligence in researching clearances.
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Old 09-11-18, 01:54 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

Last I heard, PASSPORT TO PIMLICO was in the public domain, although it may not yet have been when WAYNE'S WORLD 2 was made.

Still, Myers should have stood up to Lansing a little better than that. I mean, c'mon, curling up in a fetal position? I'm sure, with a little research, he could have found a dozen novels or stories with the same plot that preceded PIMLICO. Or simply told her to go ahead and take everything he had and then walked out. She sounds like quite a piece of work. But then, she's been married to William Friedkin for 27 years. That can't be any picnic.
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Old 09-11-18, 02:10 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

The final Wayne’s World 2 that they made contains an extended sequence that parodies The Graduate. Did they get the rights from the holder of that film? Maybe I don’t understand how these things work, but there’s something wrong with that story.
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Old 09-11-18, 02:33 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

It's like comparing a regular DJ to DJ Khaled. One uses bits and pieces of other material, the other says his name and plays your entire original song.

Bits and pieces are fine, ripping off the entire thing? That apparently makes you a millionaire.

I don't know what my point was anymore.

MGM sued two Mike Myers movies despite being parodies-- The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember. They settled and MGM got free trailers attached to the Austin Powers movies.

Last edited by RichC2; 09-11-18 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 09-11-18, 02:52 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

Parody is protected under the first amendment, so you wouldn't need permission or pay for rights to do a parody, but it sounds like this was more in the vein of a remake featuring Wayne and Garth, which would require rights to be purchased.
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Old 09-11-18, 02:54 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

I don't know how any of this stuff works either but I am curious how the studio could have sued Mike Myers for this situation anyway. First -- shouldn't it be up to the studio to do the due diligence to make sure the movie they're about to make is legal? Second -- how can they sue him for anything more than what they paid him for the movie?

As far as re-making Passport to Pimlico, again, not sure how any of it works but I do think there's a different between completely ripping off another movie and parodying one. I don't think The Graduate parody would have too many legal consequences.
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Old 09-11-18, 02:56 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
The final Wayne’s World 2 that they made contains an extended sequence that parodies The Graduate. Did they get the rights from the holder of that film? Maybe I don’t understand how these things work, but there’s something wrong with that story.
There seem to be a lot of intricacies with rights and ownership of stories.

I know that certain things fall under parody (like the scene from The Graduate, or, probably, parodying the concept behind Rashomon), but if you’re going to center your entire movie around the plot of another movie, that’s when the lawyers come in.

This is doubly true if Myers was publicly acknowledging that he was basing his story on another movie. That’s how Harlan Ellison got his name in the credits of The Terminator along with a check with a lot of zeros on it.

I seem to recall hearing that George Lucas obtained the rights to The Hidden Fortress to make Star Wars, but with many things associated with that movie, that bit of trivia might be apocryphal.
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Old 09-11-18, 04:21 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

That's not true about Lucas and The Hidden Fortress.

I'm doing a lot of assuming now, but I suspect that just by taking a 1949 British comedy about the wartime years and moving it to modern times and putting two goofball teenagers in it, that just doing that alone would significantly alter the screenplay. Again I'm assuming, but I doubt any specific jokes or lines of dialogue could be brought over wholesale.

I don't know, I would like to see the script.

I did some googling and it appears that the only source for this story is the Sherry Lansing biography. I'd like to hear other opinions, especially Meyers'.
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Old 09-11-18, 06:47 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

Well, maybe Paramount was a bit nervous at the time. This wasn't long after Art Buchwald had successfully sued them over Coming to America.
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Old 09-11-18, 08:10 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

I'm not a copyright lawyer so I don't know what constitutes as plagiarism but in this day and age so many movies and TV shows copy elements of each other.

I'm sure the rule of "parody" could be successfully be argued as well. If you're filming a parody of "Star Wars", can you use a realistic-looking "stormtrooper" costume? Does that violate copyright laws?
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Old 09-11-18, 08:29 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

That's a good point about Coming to America.
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Old 09-11-18, 11:07 PM
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Re: Wayne’s World 2 controversy that doesn’t make sense

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
I'm sure the rule of "parody" could be successfully be argued as well. If you're filming a parody of "Star Wars", can you use a realistic-looking "stormtrooper" costume? Does that violate copyright laws?
Well, there’s this... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troops_(film)


Some of it is going to come down to just nicely asking for permission, or how aggressively someone is going to protect their copyrights and trademarks.

Paramount was very generous in allowing Star Trek fan films until Axanar crowd-funded seven figures and started hawking merchandise, at which point they they started cracking down.

I know that they wouldn’t let the movie Fanboys use any Trek trademarks, so they had to use a lot of really “similar to Star Trek” things to reference the show; that movie also presented Star Trek in a negative light so it’s not surprising they wouldn’t play ball. On the other hand, when the producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer wanted to use Spock for a couple of seconds in a fantasy sequence they asked for permission and got it.

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