Originally released theatrically in 1984, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a celebrated science-fiction adventure comedy film originally directed by Walter Richter and written by Earl Mac Rauch. Centering around the chief exploits of the eponymous protagonist – who can be succinctly described as being a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock n’ roll musician – lead actor Peter Weller originated the role and movie property as a wildly original genre production that saw the central hero saving the world from inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10.
Aided in his pursuit by the heroic Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo Banzai has since gone down as one of the more esoteric genre movies of the ’80s. That hasn’t stopped MGM from approaching geek-favorite filmmaker Kevin Smith to develop a TV series based on the original film – with Amazon interested in distribution. However, it would appear that the original filmmakers – namely Richter and Rauch – aren’t particularly keen to cede the rights to the film property to MGM, which has resulted in an ensuing lawsuit.
According to Deadline, MGM has officially filed a 26-page lawsuit in order to defend the studio’s rights to pursue producing a TV series based on the original film, despite Richter and Rauch’s protestation. Seeking to resolve what could prove to be fatal to the Buckaroo Banzai TV series in its current form, MGM filed the following statement:
“There is now a substantial controversy between the parties with great immediacy. MGM seeks to develop its new television series without Defendants’ interference. Accordingly, Plaintiffs bring this action to seek a declaration of the rights and legal relations of the parties with regard to Buckaroo Banzai.”
Provided the average layman can get past some of the dense legalese contained within the official lawsuit as it has been presented to the U.S. District Court in California, Richter and Rauch may have bitten off a little more than they could chew in their contested battle for the rights to Buckaroo Banzai. Only time will tell how things ultimately shake out as the lawsuit is further contested, but things are looking up for MGM and Smith in regards to plans for the new TV series based on the cult-classic science-fiction property.
Fans of the original movie may have been looking forward to see what Smith might be able to do with a Buckaroo Banzai TV series, but for now all hopes for the production have been put on indefinite legal hold. Nevertheless, Richter and Rauch’s position in the proceedings is certainly sympathetic, which makes the position taken by MGM all the more complicated.
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