Thursday, August 18, 2011

All Is Not Right With The World

So this is weird. ADV Films is suing Gainax for the rights to produce live action films based on Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Gainax is the studio that created the Evangelion anime series and ADV distributes the 26 episode TV series, but not any of the animated movies, in North America. And Gainax granted ADV the rights to develop a live action movie based on Evangelion. Pre-production work had begun by Peter Jackson's company WETA Workshop, but it's been a very long time since there was any word on the status of the project. So ADV's option to make the movie expired and Gainax didn't want to renew their deal.

ADV seemingly doesn't think Gainax had the right to do so, saying Gainax deliberately delayed handing off materials so the contract couldn't be renewed in time. Their lawsuit claims that not only is ADV the sole rights holder for a live action Evangelion but that they hold those rights for all time. In fact their demands are both very extensive and oddly specific. ADV believes they have can produce three live action theatrical movies, five TV programs (meaning ongoing series? TV movies?) and three straight to video movies. ADV also wants all inclusive rights to exploit these projects including general merchandise and even a theme park.

This is not the only kerfuffle between an anime distributor and a licensor we've heard of, but this is an odder case. Not only is this news the reemergence of the thought to be forgotten Evangelion movie, but also of the thought to be forgotten ADV. ADV had some financial problems which resulted in them breaking up into a few different smaller companies. The ADV as people knew it no longer exists. The company now using the name ADV may only exist now to claim ownership of live action Evangelion. And probably to shoulder some debt.

If the past is any indicator these disputes of ownership usually mean nothing positive for fans. Any Macross fan can tell you that. This sounds harsh but I for one hope ADV does not win in this lawsuit. I wish no harm towards the company. I was sorry when ADV had the problems that it did, and I'd like to see them to do well in their current form. But I'm afraid that if ADV possessed the rights to make a live action Neon Genesis Evangelion, then they might actually end up making one.

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