3:40pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Legendary Mexican Actor's Son Can Attend Movie Premiere Without Threat of Jail Time
The son of legendary Mexican actor "Cantinflas" (Mario Moreno) will get to watch his father's accomplishments being celebrated on the silver screen.
Cantinflas was the Robin Williams of his time -- at least in Mexico, where he starred in dozens of films in the middle of the 20th Century. Charlie Chaplin once called him the best comedian alive. He's best known to American audiences for his Golden Globe-nominated role in the 1956 film, Around the World in 80 Days.
Around the turn of the century, though, a major rights war erupted between Cantinflas' heirs and Columbia Pictures over rights to 34 pictures. As is often the case when it comes to international cinema, the dispute involved chain-of-title and complicated right transfers. After a trial held in 2001 -- eight years after Cantinflas passed away -- a California judge ruled that Columbia was the true owner of the films. (For those interested in the nitty gritty.)
Mario Moreno Ivanova -- Cantinflas' son -- wasn't happy at the decision nor an order requiring that he permanently refrain from distributing the movies and turn over all film elements to the studio. After he authorized another company to release two films, El Patrullero 777 and El Barrendero, on DVD in return for a $10,000 advance, Columbia asked the judge to find him in contempt and sanction him.
The judge ordered that he be imprisoned until he complied with the terms of the order, but since Ivanova resides in Mexico, the result meant that he'd be unable to come to the United States.
In July, upon the forthcoming release of Cantinflas, which stars Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli among others, Ivanova asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew to purge the contempt order and quash a bench warrant. The late actor's son told the court that he had since settled with Columbia and was doing everything he could to obey the judge's old order. He wanted to attend the August 27 Los Angeles premiere of the bio-pic of his father.
Columbia didn't oppose.
"Because it appears that Ivanova has complied with the Contempt Orders, and the Parties have stipulated to the same, the Court finds that there is no longer any need to encourage compliance," writes the judge in a ruling on Thursday. "As such, the contempt sanctions, including the monetary sanctions, should be terminated."
Here is a trailer of the new film: