Will Spike Lee Do the Right Thing in Poster Art Dispute?

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The Hollywood Reporter

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spikelee - Will Spike Lee Do the Right Thing in Poster Art Dispute?It’s been a tough weekend for Spike Lee’s Oldboy (review). Not only is the film getting hammered at the box office, expected to rake in only around $2 million, but the alleged stolen poster art fiasco is just adding to the negativity surrounding the film.

We told you here about designer Juan Luis Garcia and his artwork for the Spike Lee remake. Essentially, he designed some concepts for the film, the ad agency handling the movie told him that Spike loved a few of the designs and that they would be used as key art, but when it came time to pay Garcia for his work, the agency balked but decided to use some strikingly similar artwork. You can see the examples below.

Garcia’s poster concepts
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Garcia’s key art concept
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Image from Lee’s social network with his copyright on Garcia’s poster concepts
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Shocked by the usage of his artwork, Garcia penned an extremely respectful open letter to Spike Lee on his blog.

Once made aware of this situation, Spike tweeted the following:

Lee then followed up his above comment with a user who questioned him on Lee’s Instagram account stating:

“Why Should I Pay Someone Who I Never Met Nor Had Any Contact With Ever? He Never Made Any Deal With Me. Why Don’t You Pay Me For Your Stupid Text On Thanksgiving Day?”

Given Lee’s responses, there are only two possible ways to take those remarks: Either he didn’t even read Garcia’s letter or he just doesn’t care, the latter of which is unlike Lee given he’s always been a champion of the little guy. That last remark, though? That’s like telling a restaurant owner you won’t pay your dinner bill because you don’t know the chef who cooked your meal.

In an email to The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, Garcia said he hoped Lee could help him resolve the situation with the ad agency without taking any legal action. He said he wasn’t naming the ad agency because Lee knew “exactly who” he was talking about.

I don’t want to sue anyone, it’s not in my nature, but if that’s what it comes down to, so be it,” he wrote in the email. “I’m thrilled he liked the posters and hope they continue using them, but I need to be renumerated.

Now we’re not saying Garcia is telling the absolute truth in this situation, nor are we defending Lee in any way. The truth is we don’t know, but we do hope that Lee will at least look into (or have someone look into) Garcia’s claims. After all… one should always do the right thing. Right, Spike?

Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley, Oldboy was directed by Spike Lee from a script by Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, The Cell, Thor). The film was produced by Roy Lee, Doug Davison, and Nathan Kahane. It is in theatres now.

OLDBOY is a provocative, visceral thriller that follows the story of Joe Doucett, a man who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement, for no apparent reason. When he is suddenly released without explanation, he begins an obsessive mission to find out who imprisoned him, only to discover that the real mystery is why he was set free.

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Written by Steve Barton

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