Fox is a little peeved that its big holiday movie The Day the Earth Stood Still is scheduled to be released along side Asylum’s The Day the Earth Stopped. If you aren’t familiar with Asylum, some of their other coincidently timed releases include Sunday School Musical, The Da Vinci Treasure, and Transmorphers.
Fox brought its claim to the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s Title Registration Bureau, which handles title disputes for the studios and the hundreds of production companies that agree to abide by its rules.
First Amendment issues generally make movie titles difficult to protect unless they achieve secondary meaning, which takes time. However, fifty-seven years have passed since the original film was released, and it has since been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”, and in 2008, it was voted as the fifth best science fiction film ever made as part of the AFI’s 10 Top 10. Considering these facts, Fox may prevail.
In addition, the likelihood of confusion factor might be considered by the MPAA. The similarities between the movie posters and other marketing materials may also fall in Fox’s favor.
Regardless of the outcome, I won’t be watching either of these films. Nothing beats the original.