Independent film distributor Miramax Films Corp. won another important legal round against Sony Pictures Entertainment over ads for Sony's hit film "I Know What You Did Last Summer."
Miramax began alleging last fall that Sony's Columbia Pictures unit and producer Mandalay Entertainment marketed the film before its release last October with a misleading campaign that said the movie was "from the creator of Scream," the popular Miramax-distributed franchise.
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cederbaum said that Sony and Mandalay misled moviegoers with phrases that suggested that the film was linked to "Scream." In a press release titled " 'Screaming' Victory for Miramax!,' " company Co-Chairman Bob Weinstein said the company is thrilled with the decision, which came down late Thursday, and plans to "vigorously pursue Miramax's damage claim" against Columbia and Mandalay.
"I Know What You Did Last Summer" was written by "Scream" writer Kevin Williamson, but did not involve Wes Craven, the director of "Scream" and its sequel "Scream 2." Cederbaum's ruling says that Williamson himself raised the issue when he was first showed a promotional poster for the film because it made it appear Craven was involved in the movie. Williamson also complained to Mandalay executives about TV ads that he thought were misleading, according to court papers.
Although the film has virtually finished its domestic theatrical run and Sony changed its domestic campaign under legal pressure from Miramax, the movie continues to play in foreign markets. At stake is how it is being marketed in some foreign territories, as well as how the video might be sold.