Whether you're making a movie based on a popular book, television show, theme park attraction, or just a remake of a previously popular film, the key to it all is always about obtaining the legal rights to make the project in the first place. Usually this isn't too much of a problem when it comes to remakes. Frequently, the studio that made the movie the first time around is the one remaking it, so rights aren't an issue. However, in the case of the recent Child's Play remake things are a bit more complicated.
MGM, the studio behind the Child's Play remake, holds the rights to the original film, but only that one, the rest of the franchise, which is still ongoing, is owned by Universal. This led to some complications when it came to putting the new film together. As director Lars Klevberg explained to Bloody Disgusting, even the way the murderous doll kills people in the remake couldn't be done if they too closely resembled anything from the sequels. According to Klevberg...
It's understandable how this would get to be a little complicated. Since the movie is a remake of Child's Play, anything that looks too similar to an element of a sequel could be construed by Universal's lawyers as a "remake" of the sequel, and thus, could be the basis for legal action. MGM certainly doesn't want to run the risk of having this issue, and so the studio is extra careful to be sure everything is on the up and up.
And this wasn't simply a semantic issue. It sounds like at least one death scene in the new Child's Play was changed from the way it was originally written in the script because the moment was deemed to be too close to something that happens in a Child's Play sequel. As Lars Klevberg says...
It seems that these restrictions were more than a little frustrating for the director, though it's certainly understandable why that would be. The longer a franchise is around, the more complex rights can potentially become.
The "original" Child's Play franchise is actually still going strong. The last film was only a few years ago and creator Don Mancini is working on a new series. He's also made it clear that he's not a fan of the decision to remake the original.
The Child's Play remake is in theaters now.
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