WB wants 'Button' redo off Delhi menu

Ads warn producers they'll be sued if they do

Fighting for its foothold in India's growing movie market, Warner Bros. has threatened to sue anybody planning to remake "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" without permission.

Warners' threat appeared in local media ads Monday in the wake of reports that Bollywood producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah planned to make a Hindi-language film titled "Action Replay," in which Akshay Kumar would go through a reverse-aging process.

"We took the step of publishing a notice regarding the possible unauthorized remake of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' as part of that rigorous defense of our rights and to ensure that the filmgoing public in India experience our movies in the way that they were intended," Mumbai-based Warner Bros. India said Tuesday.

The ads, issued by New Delhi-based firm Lall & Sethi, say Warners — which co-produced the film with Paramount and has international distribution rights — will sue anyone producing a film "either in English or Hindi or another language, having a similar script, screenplay or story line or character sketches or interplay of characters or sequence of events."

"We hope that this will serve as a deterrent to any filmmaker planning an unauthorized remake," attorney Chandler Lall said, adding that the studio has issued similar notices around films like "The Departed," which reportedly is slated for a Bollywood remake by producer Sajid Nadiadwala.

The case is the latest in a long-standing Bollywood-Hollywood dispute over intellectual property rights.

Last year, Lall & Sethi issued a warning against an unauthorized remake of Sony's "Jerry Maguire" after unconfirmed reports indicated that Salman Khan planned to star in a Bollywood remake of the 1996 Tom Cruise hit. (partialdiff)