Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published November 21, 2013 at 7:21 AM | Page modified November 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (8)
  • Print

Paramount: 'Wonderful Life' sequel has no wings

Fans outraged that a sequel to a beloved holiday film is in the works are no longer out in the cold.


AP Entertainment Writer

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
This reeks of everything that is wrong with Hollywood. If they do in fact make this... MORE
The old saying that imitation is the best form of flattery is not always accurate. ... MORE
The producers who want to create the original movie seem to have forgotten that... MORE

advertising

LOS ANGELES —

Fans outraged that a sequel to a beloved holiday film is in the works are no longer out in the cold.

A spokeswoman for Paramount Pictures, which owns the rights to "It's a Wonderful Life," said Wednesday that the studio would fight a group of producers who are working on a follow-up to the 1946 holiday classic. Directed by Frank Capra, the film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a desperate family man who imagines during Christmastime what his town would be like if he'd never been born.

"No project relating to 'It's a Wonderful Life' can proceed without a license from Paramount," the studio noted in a statement after Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions announced their sequel plans Monday. "To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights."

The Internet collectively groaned this week when Bob Farnsworth, president of Nashville, Tenn.-based Hummingbird Productions, and Allen J. Schwalb, president of Orlando, Fla.-based Star Partners, unveiled their pitch for "It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story," a follow-up that would focus on Bailey's unlikeable grandson.

"This can't be real," many tweeted.

"Maybe George Bailey should have killed himself after all," wrote one blogger.

Soon celebrities were chiming in:

"I don't know if they have a title yet, but if not, I have a suggestion. I would call it 'It's a Terrible Idea,'" joked Jimmy Kimmel.

"Stop messing with classics, people! What's next? 'Gone with the Wind 2'?" pondered Andy Cohen.

Farnsworth and Schwalb said the film would star Karolyn Grimes, who played Bailey's daughter in the original film, as an angel who comes to the aid of her nephew. They also said they were in talks with other surviving cast members to return. The producers estimated it would cost between $25 and $32 million, far less than many Hollywood remakes and sequels.

Apparently, Farnsworth and Schwalb, who did not return messages seeking comment for this story, forgot one important detail: They didn't ask the film's owner for legal permission. Farnsworth previously told The Hollywood Reporter trade publication that the rights to "It's a Wonderful Life" were in the public domain.

Not quite.

While a lapsed copyright led TV stations in the 1970s through early 1990s to repeatedly broadcast the film, Paramount has controlled the rights for the past 14 years, after it acquired Republic Pictures as part of its purchase of Spelling Entertainment in 1999. Paramount has since licensed the film to NBC, which airs it sparingly during the holidays.

Farnsworth and Schwalb not only lacked the blessing of Paramount -- and fans everywhere -- their proposed idea for a sequel also isn't supported by the family of Frank Capra, who died in 1991.

Capra's son, Tom Capra, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the family hadn't been contacted by Farnsworth and Schwalb about the sequel, a project they believe their father would have never approved.

"If he was still alive, he would have called it ludicrous," said Capra. "Then, I think we would have called his lawyer. Why would you even attempt to make a sequel to such a classic film?"

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

The Seattle Times photographs

Seattle space needle and mountains

Purchase The Seattle Times images


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►