Sam Raimi's ‘Evil Dead’ Snared In Sequel Lawsuits As Reboot Begins Filming

Sam Raimi Evil DeadA looming legal fight over who owns an Evil Dead sequel hasn’t stopped Sam Raimi’s reboot of his 1981 horror classic from moving forward. Principal photography began today in New Zealand. Directed by Fede Alvarez, the new Evil Dead is produced by the Raimi-led Ghost House Pictures, with Sony Pictures and FilmDistrict distributing. The film is scheduled to be released April 12, 2013. In the meantime, Renaissance Pictures, which was formed in 1979 by Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert for the original Evil Dead, has sued the below-the-radar Award Pictures for trademark infringement and a series of other related counts over the latter’s intention to produce an Evil Dead 4 film. Award countered that a published 2000 remark by Raimi that “we’re never going to do a sequel,” was “a public declaration by the defendant that the defendant abandoned the alleged ‘mark’ on Evil Dead decades ago.”

In Renaissance’s May 2 court filing, Raimi claims that Award’s Evil Dead 4 conflicts with plans he has for “another installment” in his Evil Dead franchise. Raimi wrote and directed 1987’s Evil Dead II and 1993’s Army of Darkness aka Evil Dead III. On June 1, 2010 Renaissance filed paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the Evil Dead trademark. It was Award’s objection to that filing that has left Renaissance’s application pending and court documents flying back and forth. The new Evil Dead reboot is scheduled to wrap filming in July.

Michael D. Roth of Los Angeles’ Caldwell Leslie & Proctor and Barbara Solomon of New York’s Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu are representing Renaissance.

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