Just released to YouTube and Vimeo on Monday,February, 23rd, Dredd Producer Adi Shankar and acclaimed Music Video Director Joseph Kahn’s not for profit, self funded, NSFW and completely fucking awesome Power Rangers Fan Film has been getting A LOT of attention.
Watch it while you can.
Now, longtime franchise rights holders Saban Entertainment are threatening legal action against the producers of the video, something completely unheard of in the fan community. Many speculate that this is due to the fact that Saban is currently in development with Lionsgate on their own modern Power Rangers reboot, perhaps the R Rated violence and language is an issue for them as well.
Punisher: Dirty Laundry, also produced by Shankar, actually features former Punisher (2004) Actor Tom Jane. Marvel didn’t feel the need to release the Lawyers.
Vimeo has already taken the video down after a copyright infringement claim from Saban’s Lawyer Tim Quinlan. YouTube still hosts the video, and Kahn maintains via Twitter that “Every image in Power/Rangers is original footage. Nothing was pre-existing. There is no copyrighted footage in the short. I am not making any money on it and I refuse to accept any from anyone. It was not even Kickstarted, I paid for it myself. This was made to be given away for free. It is just as if I drew a pic of Power Rangers on a napkin and I gave it to my friend. Is it illegal to give pic I drew of a character on a napkin to someone for free? No.” Later he Tweeted directly to Saban: “The world is watching your actions right now.”
Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist and Mortal Kombat: Legacy started their lives as Fan Films, later gaining the permission and budget to continue on as official adaptations from Capcom and Warner Bros., respectively.
This could set a dangerous precedent in the community, where films like this have been a staple of conventions since the early 90’s, both as a place to exhibit and trade bootleg copies. The internet now makes these things travel faster, of course, but it’s still generally accepted by most companies, even juggernauts like Disney, who have continued to allow Marvel and Star Wars characters to appear in such projects and have never harassed any of the filmmakers like this.
Sandy Collora’s Batman: Dead End featured WB’s Caped Crusader taking on 20th Century Fox’s Aliens and Predators. Again, no legal action was taken from either studio.
Hopefully Saban wises up and realizes that any publicity is good publicity, and Power/Rangers isn’t doing anything to irreparably damage their brand. If anything they should take notice of the positive reaction to the fan film and try to steer their upcoming reboot in the same direction, If it’s half as good as Kahn and Shankar’s video, I’ll be first in line to buy a ticket.