Summit Entertainment Asks For Help With Leaked Footage

We received the following from Summit Entertainment:

“In light of recent events, and in case of future occurrences, we have created an e-mail address ( for all fans to submit any links they see hosting leaked content from THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN. If we need additional information, we will contact the individual directly.”

The leaks of this week surpassed what happened last year. Last year an individual hacked into the server where official studio stills were kept, shared them with friends, and they were eventually posted online. This person, after a year of court maneuvers, was eventually tracked down to her home in Sweden and was successfully prosecuted.

There was also similar action taken against the person who put the Wolverine footage online. Note he didn’t steal it, he just got caught distributing it and that is enough for prosecution in a federal case. Copyright violation is a federal offense!

For the above reasons, and the fact that we just think it’s wrong to steal raw footage and distribute things that aren’t yours, we aren’t posting any leaked footage. Please as always keep this type of info out of links in blog comments, or those comments will be deleted. Also if you are lucky enough to get a copy of the official guide early, please don’t disclose what’s in it (we have seen a couple of mentions online). It’s like forcing someone to look a their Christmas present early whether they want to or not.

Not Part Of April Fools: Message From Summit Entertainment

We just received the following from Summit Entertainment regarding photos/footage from Breaking Dawn that was leaked onto the Internet yesterday and today.

Dear Twilight Saga fans,

As some of you may know, pictures and screen grabs of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn as a work in progress have leaked on the internet. We are extremely proud of this film and also extremely heartbroken to see it out there at this stage.

The film and these images are not yet ready or in their proper context. They were illegally obtained and their early dissemination is deeply upsetting to the actors, the filmmakers and Summit who are working so hard to bring these movies to fruition to you in November 2011 and November 2012.

Please, for those who are posting, stop. And please, though the temptation is high, don’t view or pass on these images. Wait for the film in its beautiful, finished entirety to thrill you.


Stephenie Meyer, Bill Condon, Wyck Godfrey and Summit Entertainment

We will not be posting the photos here. As per our usual policy regarding unauthorized items, links to the photos in comments will be deleted and the user banned.

Summit Entertainment Addresses Tsunami Concerns for Breaking Dawn Cast

Summit Entertainment addressed some confusion on how the Tsunami was affecting the Breaking Dawn cast. Various versions of what was happening with the cast started to emerge on Twitter and elsewhere. They released this brief statement on their official Facebook page in order to quell rumor and desensationalize the story as it related to their cast and crew:

“Due to the tsunami advisory, filming of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn has been delayed. All cast and crew were evacuated to the movie production’s base camp. Everyone is safe and sound.”

The cast and crew were filming in the Tofino area which is on the coast. It’s the same area where some of the cliff diving sequences were shot for New Moon. The cast was onsite when moved very early this morning local Pacific Time as a precaution.

Much of the West Coast of North and South America is/was under Tsunami advisory/warning. Additionally, it should be noted that LaPush is also under the same warning. Current thought (as we post this at 1:30 East Coast Time) is that they are not anticipating major damage in the area, but people along the coast should listen to local authorizes and abide by their directives as to what is considered “safe ground”.

Several cast members such as Peter Facinelli and Gil Birmingham took to their Twitters with prayers for the victims. Several organizations such as the Red Cross, Shelter Box, and others are reaching out.

Bath & Body Works Takes Summit To Court Over Twilight

Summit LogoAccording to Yahoo:

Bath & Body Works is suing the distributor of the “Twilight” films, hoping to get a declaratory judgment that its “Twilight Woods” line of lotions, shower gels and other products doesn’t infringe the trademark on the hit vampire franchise.

This might be the best toiletry-related lawsuit since Johnny Carson’s estate won a permanent injunction to stop “Here’s Johnny Portable Toilets” in December.

The retailer says it’s under threat from Summit Entertainment because its lotions and other bathroom products allegedly rip off the design and color palate of “Twilight” promo materials.

Confusion in the marketplace? Summit allegedly thinks so. Now Bath & Body Works has beat Summit to the courthouse to stake its claim in federal court in Manhattan.

“The term ‘Twilight’ is used so as to evoke the idea of a particular time of day when the sun is just below the horizon, illuminating the landscape,” the lawsuit says. “Whereas defendant uses the term ‘Twilight’ to refer to defendant’s teen vampire saga.”

Summit is currently involved in a myriad of legal action connected to the Twilight Saga:

Blockbuster not paying for Eclipse DVD’s
Musician who tried to connect his music to Twilight.
The scout who found Twilight wanting more money
Legal action surrounding the illegal distribution of Eclispe photos.

There was also previous legal action regarding the Bella’s jacket and the Twilight perfume that reused a bottle design from another company.

Revenue From Twilight Movies Eases Summit’s Financial Options

The Hollywood reporter got the exclusive on what is happening over at Summit in regards to refinancing. Talk of this first started earlier this year, but now, The Hollywood Reporter has learned the following:

“Vampires turn out to be a bloody good investment.

Soaring with the success of the Twilight movie franchise, Summit Entertainment is on the verge of closing $750 million in new financing that will allow the production and distribution company to pay off its high-interest debt load, provide a solid financial footing for the future and pay a $200 million dividend to investors and key members of the management team, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The refinancing, expected to close this week, was arranged by J.P. Morgan and UBS AG and consists of a $550 million loan with a term of five and a half years and a $200 million revolving line of credit guaranteed against future revenues from movies, including the two sequels to Twilight currently in production.

That money, plus profits that have accumulated from movie distribution and merchandise licensing, mostly from Twilight, will go to pay off debt from the original formation of the modern Summit in 2007, and monies owed on the current revolving line of credit.”

It’s a pretty impressive deal for a company that has more or less  revamped itself into a solid player in the last five years. See the fine tuned details on The Hollywood Reporter.

Happy Valentine’s Day With an Official Isle Esme Photo

Summit Entertainment just put this out via their Facebook. It’s an Isle Esme shot. Wonder if it was difficult to photoshop out the flotilla at sea?

Chris Weitz Bets Bella Would Like His Latest Movie

Chris Weitz’s latest movie goes back to his indie filmmaker roots.  It’s called A Better Life and is incidentally a Summit Entertainment film.  Chris Weitz describes the movie as, “In a very unsentimental, realistic way, it explores the love between a father and son and the tremendous efforts that people make to realize their dreams in this country.”

During their interview, Cinematical asked Chris if Twilight fans would come out for this film. Here is what he had to say:

To the Twi-hards:

Weitz says: “Look, let’s be honest: There’s not a single vampire, not a werewolf or star-crossed romance in sight. Jose is quite a heartthrob but just doesn’t have Jacob’s abs. Demian plays an amazing Dad but doesn’t have to deal with quite the same issues as Charlie Swan. But if a fan of ‘Twilight’ came away from watching ‘New Moon’ with a sense that that movie has been done well by me and my crew, they might be interested in seeing another film that deals with some pretty intense feelings and, frankly, packs a tremendous emotional wallop. I’ll put it this way: I bet that Bella would go see ‘A Better Life.’ I bet she’d make the drive out to Port Angeles. And I bet she’d like it.”

Check out the full story on Moviefone’s Cinematical.

Twilight Making It Possible For Summit to Revamp Finances

According to Bloomberg News (a leading source on all things financial), Summit is now in a position, thanks to the success of the Twilight movies, to pay off debt, finance productions, and pay dividends to investors.

Statistically, most start-up, indie movie companies don’t even break even, they flop. Summit is an exception with the Twilight films putting them in the black, and giving them options they wouldn’t otherwise have had.

“The proposed refinancing includes a $600 million, seven- year term loan and a $200 million revolving credit facility, New York-based Moody’s Investors Service said today in a report giving the company a B1, non-investment grade rating…Summit is benefiting from “significant” cash flow from the “Twilight” films that reduces risk for investors, Moody’s said. The first three movies in the series generated $1.8 billion in global ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry researcher. Two more films are planned.”

As an young, indie company Summit has struck some of its notable success with the Twilight films, The Hurt Locker (Academy Award Picture of the Year 2009), Red(which has just been greenlit for a sequel), and Push. See the entire article here on Bloomberg.

EDITED: The LA Times has now added their two cents to the story.

“The studio’s co-chiefs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger have said that they would consider buying other small entertainment companies or film libraries. They have also said they want to expand into television production through acquisitions or internal investment.

In its analysis, Moodys cited as its chief concern a question often asked in Hollywood: Can Summit maintain its successful track record after releasing the final “Twilight” movies in 2011 and 2012?

“We remain cautious about the sustainability of strong credit metrics beyond 2012,” the Moody’s analysis said, “given the end of the ‘Twilight’ franchise, uncertainty about a replacement franchise and the volatile nature of the company’s business.”

Future improvements or downgrades in the rating, Moody’s added, will depend on the success or failure of its new films that will allow it to pay down debt at a faster or slower rate.”

See the entire LA Times take here.

Former Summit Board Member Called Out For Misrepresenting The Twilight Saga

Summit LogoNikki Finke from Deadline Hollywood has the scoop and the emails on this one. The long and short of it seems that there is a former Summit board member who is/was showing the movies to audiences at what were billed as charity screenings. At these screenings, actors associated with the franchise were solicited to appear. There were also set visits auctioned off without that were apparently without authorization.

According to Nikki Finke:

“Failure may be an orphan in Hollywood, but success has many fathers. I’ve learned that Summit Entertainment has sent a letter threatening legal action if this NYC-based businessman continues to “misrepresent that he’s involved in the ownership, management, decision-making, and operations” of Summit. Last time the studio warned him, he was claiming involvement with Summit’s New Moon and Breaking Dawn movies in the Twilight saga.”

See more details including the correspondence from the legal team and parties involved here.

It looks like the Summit legal team is pretty busy. Over the past year they have been/are currently involved in lawsuits stemming from people hacking into their photographer’s server and distributing unauthorized photos from Eclipse to stopping magazines from running photos for which they did not obtain the proper licensing.

Etsy: The Fuzzy Line of Creativity and Trademark/Copyright Infringement

Two of the biggest online entities for fan creativity are CafePress and Etsy. Often for fan artists there is a tricky balance between creating an item that is inspired by a book or the movie vs. something that takes the rights of others.  It gets even trickier when you have a book in the mix because now you have a publishing company’s rights to deal with as well.

CafePress entered into an agreement with Summit to allow fans to produce fan items from the Twilight Saga. There are tens of thousands of items from water bottles to tee shirts. There are some limits, like no images from the movie, and no fangs, but you can quote the movie, and use character names.

On the other hand, Etsy has no such agreement, and this leads to confusion over what is allowable. CNET covers some of the controversy:

One of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world, for example, is almost completely absent from Etsy: the Twilight teen-vampire book and movie series. There are items that describe themselves as “Twilight inspired,” but posts in Web forums by Etsy sellers who have had Twilight-related items removed from the e-commerce site indicate that Summit Entertainment, the movie studio that owns the trademark to the Twilight franchise, has been policing Etsy for more obvious infringements.

For legal reasons, Etsy’s Feingold declined to comment on these reports or on which specific brands’ trademark holders have called up the company with takedown notices, and Summit representatives did not respond to a request for comment. But considering Summit’s history of filing suit against unofficial Twilight media, it’s not surprising.

One of the reasons why this is so complicated is because trademark holders are required to enforce their property or risk losing the trademark altogether.

“They are required to protect their trademarks, if they are to continue to have them, so that it doesn’t fall into the public domain,” explained David Foox, a onetime patent litigator who is now an artist. Foox said he’s experienced these complications from both sides. “If you have a trademark, and you registered it, it means you have carved out a part of this idea that has been developed into a brand.”

Foox said that as an artist, he sees fan creations, including those where the fans aim to profit, as a measure of success, but that as an attorney, he recognizes the legal requirement to protect trademarks.”

See more on CNET.

So what exactly can you or can’t you do? Some things are obvious. You can’t take things like the Little Brown cover art, the movie stylized writing, movie stills, photos taken by professional photographers and use them without previous permission and in all likelihood payment for using them. Those are all unquestionably trademarked items. They are infact a violation of the Etsy Terms of Service. You just can’t take those and not expect to be slapped with a takedown when the intellectual property owner finds out.

On the other hand creating a fingerless gloves similar to the ones Alice wore in New Moon and calling them “Twilight Inspired” (vs actually saying “these are Alice’s gloves”) is probably fine.  Creating a bookmark that says, “A Perfect Rainy Day in Forks” or “Volterra, Where Tourists Come In, But They Don’t Come Out.” are both probably sufficiently vague.

So what about making a pendant that quotes the spider monkey line and has Team Edward on it. What about making locket and inscribing it with “Renesmee”? …Welcome to the gray area, and THAT’s what is causing a lot of the trouble!

What also leads to trouble is that when a complaint is lodged about one item, at times an entire shop will be suspended rather than just the one item in question which results in a loss of revenue for the shop owner until the matter is cleared up. Cafepress, for example, doesn’t remove entire shops, just the item(s) in question.

Twilight isn’t the first franchise to do this. Warner Brothers, who control the Harry Potter franchise, took down all Harry Potter CafePress shops circa 2003. They sued a women having Harry Potter dinners at her restaurant. They also vigorously enforced their copyright on fansites (Ask the guys on Mugglenet what they have gone through over the years  to make various tee shirts).

Additionally, if you really want a legion of lawyers to descend try taking anything that has to do with Disney. Disney is legendary with their vigorous defense of their intellectual property. I’m sure this family business didn’t bank on the 1 million dollar lawsuit over Winnie the Pooh!

So as of now, it looks like CafePress is the safest place for Twilight fan creations. Etsy, is going to be a proverbial crapshoot.