The man who brought Mortal Kombat to the big screen has sued Midway in U.S. Bankruptcy Court over what he claims are his intellectual property interests in the franchise. The suit may interfere with a proposed $33 million sale of Midway assets to Warner Bros.
In a complaint filed yesteday, Lawrence Kasanoff, through his company, Threshold Entertainment, asked the Court to preserve his IP rights including copyrights to certain MK series characters. Kasanoff also wants to retain the right to create derivative film and television projects based on the popular fighting game franchise.
Kasanoff claims that it was he who made Mortal Kombat more than just a video game:
In 1993, Kasanoff visited Midway… with an idea to launch the Mortal Kombat concept in a totally new direction. Specifically, Kasanoff proposed to develop… a full feature-length motion picture, a television series, and other productions. Midway was initially skeptical, as Kasanoff’s idea was revolutionary at the time…
The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway’s creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, "stock" characters… Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.
In his lawsuit, Kasanoff also claims credit for making MK characters like Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Scorpion into recognizable names. The suit estimates that the franchise has grossed more than $4 billion over the years.
In petitioning the Bankruptcy Court, Kasanoff seeks to block the proposed sale of Mortal Kombat assets to Warner Bros.
DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Kasanoff’s complaint here.