Reboots are the cream of the crop these days, seeing as it’s easier for studios to take an already established universe and breathing some new life into it; compared to just coming up with your own original content. Such, was the case with the upcoming Buckaroo Banzai reboot.
BUCKAROO BANZAI was a 1984, Science-Fiction, romantic, adventure, cult classic, starring Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, and Christopher Lloyd. The film followed Peter Weller, as the titular character Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, as he attempted to defeat inter-dimensial aliens known as ‘Red Lectroids‘.
The 1984 film was written by Earl Mac Rauch and directed by W.D. Richter, originally, however are now claiming that they own the rights to Banzai, which in turn has led to MGM suing the aforementioned writer and director.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, MGM is stating that Rauch and Richter have been aware of the rights status since 2008, as well as MGM’s interest in creating a television series. Because of this, MGM has decided to sue Rauch & Richter, due to their claim that they own full creative rights. In Rauch & Richter’s five page letter, sent via their attorney Kenneth Keller, to MGM’s legal team they advise that they are in no way dismissing MGM’s limited rights to Banzai, however they are solely within their legal rights to add to the Buckaroo Banzai universe. MGM, in turn, is stating that, on top of Richter & Rauch signing over their rights to the entity, Richter violated a publicity provision by talking to a website about MGM not having any creative rights.
So, in short it’s a mess.
So much so, that it has resulted in writer/director Kevin Smith (CLERKS, RED STATE) — who was originally helmed to take on the reboot — to pull out of the project, altogether. Smith announced his departure via Facebook Live and has stated that should MGM wish to use him in the future he would be more than happy to jump back on board. With all the legalities to be sorted it’s smart for Smith to separate himself from the project.
For now, it seems as if Buckaroo Banzai’s next adventure is in court, but for at least we have the 1984 cult classic to rest our heels on.