Church Of God Sues Sony, IFC Films For Copyright Infringement

Here’s a change of pace. A filmmaker has angered a large religious group and is facing legal repercussions and it isn’t Kevin Smith!

Instead, the Church of God reportedly is going after Sony Pictures, IFC Films and Comcast for copyright infringement because an image that looks identical to the church’s trademarked cross logo is being used in George Ratliff’s recently released comedy Salvation Boulevard. The film, which opened in limited release on July 15, stars Greg Kinnear as a former Grateful Dead fanatic who catches his evangelical preacher (Pierce Brosnan) in a compromising situation. Based on Larry Beinhart’s book of the same title, the movie co-stars Ed Harris, Marisa Tomei and Jennifer Connelly.

According to a complaint obtained by TorrentFreak, the Church of God – which considers itself to be more than 6 million members strong around the globe – is accusing Sony Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, IFC Films and Comcast of “copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition by using a mirrored version of the church’s logo in the film.” The church has asked the courts to stop the distribution of the film, as well as to burn all copies, promotional materials and merchandising relating to the motion picture. They also – and here’s the important part – seek “compensation” for the damages caused by the film.

You know, the film that nobody went to see last weekend. Salvation Boulevard opened in four theaters last weekend and earned a grand total of $7,208, according to BoxOfficeMojo. The movie has an 8% Fresh grade on Rotten Tomatoes, and isn’t about to set the world on fire. This isn’t like the Church of God is going after Harry Potter, or suing the producers of The Hangover over a facial tattoo. Filing a lawsuit only brings attention to a film that likely wasn’t going to earn any more from this point out, and likely won’t help either party in the end.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.