Universal has filed a lawsuit against Lionsgate, claiming Larry-the-Cable-Guy-vehicle Witless Protection stole a character from the 1988 movie Midnight Run. Both movies involve a witness set to testify against the mob, and in both, the witness ends up on the run, pursued by a short-tempered, humorless FBI agent named Alonzo Mosely – played by the same actor, Yaphet Kotto. The actual text of the suit includes the following gem:
Witless Protection was a box office flop as well as a critical failure. As of March 2, 2008, the Internet movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 0% of critics gave the film positve reviews, based on 22 reviews.
Universal seeks to impound and dispose of all copies of the film (and I’d like to add anyone who saw it) and all profits, should there be any.
In their defense, Lionsgate assumed Larry the Cable Guy only stole from dead Vaudevillians and old time minstrel shows – both of which are public domain.