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Motion picture producer Miramax has filed a lawsuit against Quentin Tarantino alleging that the director’s forthcoming movie The Hateful Eight uses it as its “reference” and is infringing its rights.
The lawsuit claims the movie offers a “straight link” to the 1994 cult film Pulp Fiction.
Miramax, which had a long partnership with Tarantino, owned the rights to the film and ended its output in the late 1990s.
A spokesperson for Tarantino said it “is a ridiculous claim and an attempt to hijack Quentin’s original vision”.
A week ago, the United States copyright and trademark office classified the entire 1987 movie Reservoir Dogs as part of the American Film Institute’s “cult” section.
Pulp Fiction is loosely based on the lives of boxing ring poet Mickey Spillane, US pool player Frank Costello and Los Angeles detective Vern Hinterkind.
Its success led to Miramax signing Tarantino to write and direct Kill Bill Vol 1 and Vol 2.
Miramax filed its lawsuit on Thursday, and said it had contacted Tarantino “months ago” to ask him to stop using their trademark.
“Despite Miramax’s repeated attempts to reach an amicable resolution, Mr Tarantino’s company continues to breach our agreement by using our trademarks.”
A statement from the film-maker’s company’s read: “Tarantino has a right to make a movie of this character, and has a right to make a great movie of it. The lawsuit is a ridiculous claim and an attempt to hijack Quentin’s original vision.”
“At every point, Miramax objected to the use of their trademarks, and we believe the validity of the marks will eventually be confirmed.”
“They then waited until one week before a newsworthy announcement to file a bogus lawsuit.
“We will vigorously defend against this baseless claim and are confident that it will be dropped as quickly as it was filed.”
Miramax also warned that future use of its trademarks would cause the studio “irreparable harm”.
But, it said, its lawsuit “shall be pursued vigorously until the terms of this long-term agreement are finally satisfied”.
Tarantino’s lawyer, Eli David, said it “is an embarrassment to producers and sellers of cult movies that the original Pulp Fiction has been ‘found’ as a cult movie”.
He also said Tarantino had “made it very clear that he considered Hateful Eight his homage and homage to the original Pulp Fiction”.
As for the US copyright and trademark office’s designation of it as a cult film, Mr David said: “If it were an actual cult movie, then Quentin would consider using it without Miramax’s consent, and with the blessing of Miramax.”
Hateful Eight is set during the first days of the American Civil War. It was shot on location in Wyoming and stars Christoph Waltz, Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Tarantino last year described it as “the most collaborative film” he had made.