Evil Dead 4: Consequences is a movie that never saw the light of day. It serves as a cautionary tale for budding filmmakers to do your homework.
Evil Dead 4: Consequences was an unauthorized sequel from Award Pictures that will never see the light of day. I am not certain if many hardcore Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell fans are even aware of its existence. Following the franchise for more years than I care to remember, I never even heard of this effort until now.
Emanuele Crivello of Evil Dead Italia who is in the process of writing an Italian essay on the Evil Dead universe (which will be released in 2019) tipped me off to this particular tale which will be featured in his book. Apparently, Glenn MacCrae president of Award Pictures decided that he was going to make the next Evil Dead film in the series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company went to the trademark office armed with what they considered to be solid evidence that Renaissance Pictures had no control over their property alleging that they allowed Evil Dead to be used as titles in “20 other motion pictures.”
Furthermore, they even asserted that Sam Raimi abandoned his trademark by declaring in a book in 2000, that “he would never do another sequel.” This is where things get a little crazy for me. First of all, I don’t pretend to be a lawyer nor do I play one on television but just because the director may have said that doesn’t necessarily mean that he has no interest in retaining the rights to his intellectual property.
After all, he created Evil Dead along with his partners, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert. There have been numerous directors and producers that have stated in the press that they haven’t wanted to do sequels to their successful movies before it doesn’t mean that they would just walk away from their work!
Obviously, Raimi sued Award Pictures. Then in a brilliant countermove tried to halt the progress of the trademark trial board while they were involved in the civil lawsuit. Unfortunately, MacCrae’s company did not have the funds necessary to secure counsel. Their reason, “IP lawyers were asking for tens of thousands of dollars in retainer fees to handle the case.”
The company was convinced that they could have afforded to pay for representation if they finished their film. As a result, supposedly they lost their financing for their feature and rightfully so.
In the end, this little saga over rights ended in Sam Raimi and Renaissance Pictures favor. The judgment of the court also decreed that Award Pictures could no longer use the Evil Dead name on any form of entertainment. This verdict came about in part because the company didn’t respond to the filing.
MacCrae asserted that he would continue to fight the lawsuit because somehow or other he ended up with legal representation. Needless to say, Sam, Bruce and Rob went on to produce Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead which was released in 2013. As for Award Pictures, the moral of this story is do your homework and don’t assume that a property is up for grabs.
Contact the parties involved and inquire about the rights. Save yourself the headache and the heartache. Future filmmakers this is definitely an example of how to not make a movie.
Evil Dead and Sam Raimi fans were you aware of this lawsuit? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.