‘Machete’ Franchise Brings Suit Over App


LOS ANGELES (CN) – A writer-director who planned to release a Danny Trejo vigilante flick called “Vengeance” just two weeks before Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills,” claims that Rodriguez’s camp sabotaged a mobile application tie-in with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
     Wozniak is not a party to the federal lawsuit.
     ITN Flix and Gil Medina filed a similar lawsuit in Utah Federal Court in early 2013.
     U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby dismissed that suit this year without prejudice on a jurisdictional basis. ITN and Medina refiled in Los Angeles Federal Court on Nov. 13.
     The sequel to “Machete Kills” has been the subject of four other lawsuits, according to the Courthouse News Service database.
     Trejo sued ITN and Medina in 2013 over the limits of a license agreement to make use of his image and likeness.
     In the new lawsuit, ITN and Medina claim they came up with the script for an exploitation vigilante franchise starring Trejo, which Rodriguez passed on in 2005.
     Rodriguez went on to make the “Grindhouse” double feature with Quentin Tarantino. Wedged between Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” were several fictional exploitation movie trailers, including Rodriguez’s “Machete,” with Trejo playing the role of a vigilante hero.
     Medina claims that Rodriguez made the first “Machete” movie in 2009 to “destroy” the “Vengeance” franchise.
     In 2012, when Medina entered into talks with Wozniak to make a tie-in mobile game app, Trejo and Rodriguez’s talent agent Gloria Hinojosa “intimidated and threatened” Wozniak to pull his support for the app, according to the new lawsuit.
     “(A)mong other false statements, Hinojosa told the Wozniaks that plaintiffs had no contract or other business relationship with Trejo, and had not worked with Trejo for ten years, and that Medina in particular was a ‘fraud’ and ‘con man’ and was taking monies for himself and not putting them into any project involving Trejo,” the 34-page complaint states.
     Medina claims the ploy worked, delaying release of the game and costing him millions of dollars.
     He seeks damages for intentional interference with contract and with economic relations, unjust enrichment, violation of the Lanham Act and unlawful, business code violations and negligence.
     Named defendants are Hinojosa; Amstel, Eisenstadt, Frazier & Hinojosa Talent Agency; Robert Rodriguez; Machete Kills LLC; Chingon Inc.; Troublemaker Studios; Quick Draw Productions; and Machete’s Chop Shop.
     ITN Flix and Medina are represented by Edward M. Anderson with Anderson General & Entertainment Law of Santa Monica.

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