"Diablo" goes to limbo
Just when you thought it couldnt get worse for the poor guys at New Line Cinema. If the current Goldmember legal woes werent enough, the studio has pushed back their film formerly titled EL DIABLO indefinitely after a lengthy court battle with Blizzard Entertainment, creators of the Diablo video game. On July 10th of last year, a judge sided with Blizzard and issued the motion which stated New Line was barred from advertising, promoting or releasing an upcoming motion picture under the name DIABLO. According to a press release from Blizzard, the ruling also prohibits New Line from using the mark Diablo in any form, whether used along or in combination with any other words.
The Vin Diesel picture, which follows a DEA agents crusade to bring down a legendary druglord, was originally titled DIABLO. An EL was added to the title in an attempt to create a distinction between the film and the video game property but the courts judgment meant that just adding an EL was simply not enough. But certainly changing a films title and marketing campaign could have been done in time for its originally scheduled fall release no? In fact, theyre still trying to get the as-of-yet untitled AUSTIN POWERS film finished in time for a July 26th debut. So how does New Line explain the films being pushed back to a TBD 2003 date, despite the fact the film wrapped almost a year ago (March, 2001)? Simple - they dont. A call to New Line confirmed the film was not on the slate for 2002 and the Untitled Vin Diesel Action Film may eventually see the light of day sometime in 2003. A Blizzard Entertainment PR rep simply referred any questions about the Diablo scandal to the firms aforementioned press release.
Maybe New Lines not talking about why the film has been moved, but that doesnt mean we cant take our guesses. I would think the fall would be a perfect time to release the-film-formerly-known-as-DIABLO (TFFKAD). From all preliminary accounts, XXX (which hits theaters this August) will do for Vin Diesel what THE TERMINATOR did for Arnold Schwarzenegger. So one would think New Line would want to capitalize on their stars new found success. The fall seems to be devoid of any other major releases for NLC and it seems like a perfect time for the film to hit. Could it be the studio is unhappy with the film? Unlikely, considering they've already ordered a TFFKAD 2. Meanwhile, the film sits finished on the shelves at New Line headquarters likely waiting over a year before it sees the light of day...