July 09, 2007
Blow-up actor throwdown — 'We are not men, we are... inflatable'
Just in from the Wall Street Journal Online via Fortune Small Business, the news that Inflatable Crowd and Crowd in a Box, which both sell inflatable vinyl torsos used by moviemakers to expand the apparent size of a crowd of extras, have taken it to the legal arena in a patent dispute.
You can bet the attorneys for both sides are full of themselves about having been selected to represent the respective claimants.
In fact, so impressed are they that if you listen real closely, you can almost — almost — hear a pin drop.
I hate to puncture the balloon of the two companies, but they'd do a lot better — financially and otherwise — by hiring a mediator and throwing their crack legal teams under the bus.
What is the sound of hot air hissing?
Here's Robin Moroney's report as it appeared in the Online WSJ on July 5, 2007.
- A Hollywood Fight Over Blow-Up Actors
It is an old complaint that inanimate plastic dummies could do as good a job as some Hollywood actors. Now two companies are in a patent dispute over who turned that grievance into a business plan, reports Fortune Small Business.
Crowd in a Box and Inflatable Crowd sell inflatable vinyl torsos that movie producers can dress up and use to expand the apparent size of a crowd of extras. They appeared in crowd scenes in “Million Dollar Baby” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” and “Be Cool.”
Crowd in a Box says it holds two patents for inflatable humanoid figures used in background scenes, and has sued Inflatable Crowd. Inflatable Crowd owner Joe Biggins won’t comment, beyond saying that he independently came up with the idea for the dummy extras in 2002 while working on the crew of “Seabiscuit.”
Amid the legal wrangling, Inflatable Crowd has kept an edge in the market, placing its dummies in more than 50 feature films. Crowd in a Box’s dummies have been tapped for five features, and also have done TV shows and commercials.
July 9, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink
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