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Paramount sues to stop new 'Godfather' prequel's publication

February 23, 2012 | 11:56 am

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A prequel to Mario Puzo's "The Godfather," to be published by Grand Central, may not see shelves if Paramount has its way. The movie studio has sued to block publication of "The Family Corleone," slated for June. The book, written by Ed Falco, was sanctioned by Puzo's estate.

In a suit filed Feb. 17 in Manhattan, Paramount Pictures claims it is trying to "protect the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy," the Wrap reports. When Puzo signed his contract with Paramount in 1969, it included broad rights to "The Godfather" and the characters in the novel. The studio made three Godfather pictures, all of which have been Academy Award winners or nominees.

There have been a number of other Godfather spinoffs, including a video game. And then there are the books.

The Puzo family authorized two sequels to "The Godfather" -- 2004's "The Godfather Returns" and, two years later, "The Godfather's Revenge." Both novels were written by Mark Winegardner, an author who teaches at Florida State University.

In the new suit, Paramount says it authorized the first sequel but not the second. It claims that "The Godfather's Revenge" "tarnished" the legacy of "The Godfather," and the studio is now seeking damages in addition to trying to block publication of "The Family Corleone."

The studio has long known about the book, which was announced by publisher Grand Central in May 2011. That was when it was made public that Falco, an uncle of "Sopranos" actress Edie Falco, would be penning a prequel; it's based on an unproduced screenplay written by Puzo, who died in 1999.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Marlon Brando in the 1972 film "The Godfather." Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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