The Hangover Part II hit an unexpected snag shortly before its theatrical release, when tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill sued the production company for using his copyrighted design for Mike Tyson's facial art without permission. While Whitmill initially intended to halt the theatrical release of the film, a Missouri court denied the injunction due to the difficulties it would cause numerous parties unrelated to the case: theaters who booked the film, for example. But it's not over. Oh no. And Warner Bros. is ready to digitally alter the DVD release to change the tattoo design on Ed Helms' face if necessary.
Hollywood Reporter reports (from Hollywood… again) that a new court date has been set for February 21st, 2012, months after the planned December release date on DVD and Blu-Ray. Although there's still hope for mediation, Warner Bros. is already preparing to alter the tattoo before the home video release if that falls through.
Quoth the Warners: "If the parties are unable to resolve their dispute, Warner Bros. does not intend to makeany use of the allegedly infringing tattoo after the film ends its run in theaters because Warner Bros. will digitally alter the film to substitute a different tattoo on Ed Helms’s face. […] The home video release is currently scheduled for early December 2011, which would allow Warner Bros. sufficient time to make the change if it becomes necessary."
This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened, although in the case of Harlan Ellison on Terminator or H.R. Geiger on Alien: Resurrection, it only amounted to a minor alteration to the films' credits. (Harlan Ellison won an acknowledgement for his Outer Limits episodes inspiring The Terminator, and H.R. Geiger's original creature designs had not been credited in Alien: Resurrection.) Music rights have sometimes proved an issue too, with Tom Petty's 'American Girl' and several other songs left out of early home video and TV releases of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Crave Online will return with more Hangover Part II news because apparently this will never be over.