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Apparently it was an offer the judge could refuse.
A federal judge in New York has dismissed legal attempts made by the family of The Godfather author Mario Puzo that would have terminated a contract between the estate and Paramount, giving the studio film rights to continue making movies set in the Godfather. universe. At the same time, however, THR reports that the judge also refused to dismiss a claim by Puzo’s family that Paramount breached a contract by preventing them from moving ahead on a planned book sequel. So it was good news, bad news for the studio an the Puzo clan.
Back in February, Paramount sued to block a book titled The Family Corleone, which they claimed would “tarnish” the legacy of the films they have in their vault. According to its contract, Paramount allowed the Puzos to release one Godfather sequel in print form, and it was 2004’s The Godfather Returns. Any more would be a violation.
From here, THR says the case will continue into a series of appeals and counterclaims, which likely will tie up the legal system. The loser, if there is one, has to be the fans of the Corleone story, who probably would have enjoyed more stories in print (or even in the video game adaptations that have hit the shelves over the years). Puzo crafted a rich world that Paramount could have explored through various mediums. For now, the Godfather seems stuck in a courtroom, where lawyers argue his fate.