A federal judge has ruled that The Hangover Part II will be released on time, dropping an injunction by Mike Tyson's tattoo artist to stop the May 26 debut of this comedy sequel. Here is a statement released by Warner Bros.
"We are very gratified by the Court's decision which will allow the highly anticipated film, The Hangover Part II to be released on schedule this week around the world. Plaintiff'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."
We reported last month that S. Victor Whitmill, the tattoo artist who created and designed boxer Mike Tyson's iconic facial tattoo, filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. to stop the release of the movie. He claimed he had exclusive rights to the tattoo design, and, he sued since Ed Helms' character sports a similar facial tattoo, which was used without S. Victor Whitmill's permission.
However, while the judge denied the injunction to stop The Hangover Part II's release, the case will move forward in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry did say that S. Victor Whitmill has a strong chance of succeeding in the lawsuit, although stopping the movie's release would put too much of a hardship on the studio and thousands of theater owners. Here is a statement from S. Victor Whitmill's attorney, Gregory Gerber.
"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." Judge Perry recognized copyright law protects tattoos and that Warner Bros. had no permission to use Mr. Whitmill's artwork in the movie. 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. In her decision, the judge expressed concern about the potential harm that could be suffered by all of the theater operators if the movie could not open this weekend. We certainly understand. These are innocent third parties put in this position by Warner Bros."
S. Victor Whitmill is reportedly seeking $30 million in damages, although with the injunction set aside, it is believed the tattoo artist will now only be offered a fraction of that amount.