Will a Legal Fight Ensnare Howard Stern's Planned 'Porky's' Remake? (Exclusive)
The 1982 teen comedy Porky's has many fans, including radio giant Howard Stern, who has been readying a remake for nearly two decades and is close to greenlighting production. But the raunchy sex comedy, which made more than $100 million at the box office and spawned several sequels, is clouded in an unusual rights dispute that has just landed before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
It turns out a Porky's sequel came out two years ago—and if you missed it, there's good reason.
In 1994, a company by the name of Lontano Investments acquired all rights to the franchise from the original producers.
In 2001, Lontano signed a contract with Mola Entertainment, giving Mola the exclusive right to produce a Porky's film in exchange for 1.5% of the the budget of the picture, less option fees. The agreement also gave Mola the right to produce another sequel if it satisfied the conditions of its deal, including completing the first picture within five years and paying the purchase fee in whole. The deal got amended a few times, with several time extensions and a raise of the purchase fee from 1.5% of the budget to 2.5% of the budget.
With the clock ticking on Mola's option to produce a Porky's, the company hurried a film into production in 2009. That film, originally titled Porky's: The College Years, was later changed to Pimpin' Pee Wee, produced for about $1 million and came and went quickly.
"In order for that company to continue to retain the rights to the Porky’s franchise a film had to be made," explained Pimpin' Pee Wee director Brian Trenchard-Smith in an interview at the time of the release. "(Producers) wanted to make a $10 million Porky’s reboot and for whatever reason they have not been able to do so or have not found a deal or offers that were acceptible to them. As time was running out they thought let’s whip up this cheap one and bury it."
So Mola did, claiming to have fulfilled its obligations under the deal and thus retaining rights.
But Lontana says "Not so fast." The company claims the Porky's remake required a $10 million budget to satisfy the deal.
Now, according to a lawsuit filed on March 23 in LA Superior Court, Mola seeks a judicial declaration that a $10 million budget wasn't contractually obligated. Mola says that Lontana's claims amount to a "transparent attempt to shakedown the company."
At stake may be rights to the next Porky's film -- the real reboot. Mola believes it continues to hold rights on Porky's until April 1, 2014.
A film to be titled Howard Stern's Porky's is in the works, and according to our sources, still on track to begin production soon. Producers of this film, including Howard Stern Prods, Comweb Group, and Gotham Entertainment Group say they acquired the Porky's remake rights in 2002, so we'll have to wait and see how this legal intrigue plays out.
Sundance: On the Scene