Paramount is suing to stop publication of Mario Puzo’s would-be Godfather prequel, The Family Corleone, the novel that aims to fill in the details you’ve long since inferred about how Don Corleone went from the street hustler played by Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II to Marlon Brando’s incarnation, besides cannolis. As previously reported, the Puzo estate developed the book out of a never-produced screenplay that Puzo himself wrote, turning it over to Ed Falco for novelization, based on the fact that his niece, Edie, was on The Sopranos. (Also, that he’s an established author, but the Sopranos connection should make for a nice talking point in interviews when things get boring.)
But as the book's May release date nears, Paramount has come forward with claims that the estate isn’t legally allowed to do anything with the property without its approval, given that the studio purchased the original copyright from Puzo in 1969—a deal that’s led to years of contention between the studio and the estate, such as when the Puzos sued Paramount in 2006 for a bigger share of profits from The Godfather video game. Paramount did previously allow for the publication of a 1994 sequel, The Godfather Returns, but in the suit, it calls out 2006’s poorly received, unauthorized follow-up The Godfather’s Revenge as evidence The Family Corleone should be stopped, saying, “Far from properly honoring the legacy of The Godfather,'the unauthorized The Godfather's Revenge tarnished it.” In response to these accusations, defense attorneys for the Puzo estate have already asked for a writ of “making everyone watch Godfather III again.”
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