'Hangover Part 2' to be released on schedule despite tattoo lawsuit
The film "The Hangover Part 2" will hit theaters on schedule on Thursday, May 26, Warner Bros. Pictures says after a judge denied a request to block its release after reviewing a copyright infringement lawsuit over an alleged replica of Mike Tyson's tattoo that is featured on actor Ed Helms' face in the film.
S. Victor Whitmill, a Missouri man who tattooed Tyson's face in Las Vegas in 2003, sued the film's producers in April and had sought a preliminary injunction, hoping to prevent the footage of Helms sporting the tattoo from being released.
U.S. District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry recently denied one but allowed the copyright infringement case to move forward. The judge agreed with Warner Bros.' stance that issuing a preliminary injunction would "inflict irreparable harm" on the studio, which had spent more than $80 million to market "The Hangover Part 2," the sequel to the hit R-rated comedy film, the Hollywood Reporter said.
"While we are disappointed that the motion was denied, we are quite pleased by Judge Perry's findings that Mr. Whitmill proved a 'strong likelihood of success' on the merits and that most of Warner Bros. defenses were 'just silly,'" the trade publication quoted Whitmill's lawyer as saying.
"Judge Perry recognized copyright law protects tattoos and that Warner Bros. had no permission to use Mr. Whitmill's artwork in the movie," the lawyer added. "We look forward to further vindicating our client's rights at trial in the near future, including a permanent injunction preventing further distribution of the movie."
Warner Bros. said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com that the studio was "very gratified by the Court's decision, adding that Whitmill's "failed attempt to enjoin the film in order to try and extract a massive settlement payment from Warner Bros. was highly inappropriate and unwarranted."
In the movie, which is set for release during Memorial Day weekend, the four stars (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha) travel to Bangkok for Stu's wedding. Helms plays the character who famously lost a tooth in the first film and ends up with the Maori-inspired face tattoo the eve of his wedding in the sequel. Tyson appears in both the original "Hangover" film and its sequel, playing himself.
When asked at the recent Los Angeles premiere what he thought of having Helm sport his tattoo for the movie, Tyson told OnTheRedCarpet.com host Rachel Smith he was "honored."
Additional reporting by Rachel Smith, co-host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).Watch a trailer for "The Hangover Part II" below.