Mario Puzo Estate Sued by Paramount Over ‘Godfather’ Prequel

Studio claims that “The Family Corleone” will violate its copyright on the classic mob novel

The infamous Corleone crime family has found itself in a legal jam — but it has nothing to do with whacking anybody or leaving a horse's head in somebody's bed.

Paramount Pictures filed a lawsuit against Anthony Puzo, the executor of the estate of "The Godfather" author Mario Puzo last week, seeking to block the estate from publishing a "Godfather" sequel, "The Family Corleone," later this year.

Read the complaint here.

In the papers, filed in federal court in Manhattan on Feb. 17, Paramount claims that it purchased the copyright to Puzo's classic in mobster literature in 1969, and is trying to "protect the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy" by blocking the book's publication.

The studio claims in the suit that it authorized one "Godfather" sequel book, "The Godfather Returns," to be published by Random House in 2004, following Puzo's 1999 death. A second novel, "The Godfather's Revenge," was published in 2006 without Paramount's authorization, the lawsuit claims.

Paramount's lawsuit claims that "The Godfather's Revenge" "tarnished" the legacy of "The Godfather" and "in the process, also misled consumers into believing that ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’ was authorized by Paramount.

“The studio has tremendous respect and admiration for Mario Puzo, whose novel 'The Godfather' was acquired in 1969 and helped spawn one of the most celebrated film trilogies of all time," a spokeswoman from the studio told TheWrap. "We have an obligation to and will protect our copyright and trademark interests.”

Paramount is seeking damages from "The Godfather's Revenge," as well as temporary restraining order against publication of "The Family Corleone."

The studio claims that the Puzo estate is also planning to make unauthorized use of Paramount's "Godfather"-related trademarks to promote "The Family Corleone."

The Huffington Post reports that "The Family Corleone," which is expected to be released through Grand Central Publishing, will chronicle Vito Corleone's rise to power in the New York mob scene of the 1920s and '30s. Puzo reportedly outlined the story in a screenplay, which author Ed Falco — author of the mob book "Saint John of the Five Boroughs" and, interestingly, the uncle of former "Sopranos" star Edie Falco — is adapting for the book.

Grand Central Publishing, which is expected to publish "The Family Corleone," and Paramount Pictures have not yet responded to TheWrap's requests for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.