Rival projects – two different films from different studios about the same subject matter and being released relatively close to each other – are nothing new in Hollywood. Whether the subject matter be CG bugs, asteroids, Truman Capote biopics, etc. – the films come and go and ultimately the rivalry only really makes for some interesting pre-release fodder.
One such circumstance is set to appear again next year in the form of the Los Angeles-set alien invasion action thrillers “Battle: Los Angeles” and “Skyline”. ‘Battle’ is a $100 million blockbuster from Sony Pictures, a gritty “Black Hawk Down”-esque story of a marine platoon battling alien forces in who’ve taken over Los Angeles that’s scheduled to hit next March.
“Skyline” on the other hand is a $20 million “Cloverfield”-esque story of a group of friends in Los Angeles who struggle to survive an alien attack. “Avatar” special effects guys and “Alien vs. Predators: Requiem” writer/directors Greg and Colin Strause are directing that one which opens this November.
Things get complicated however because of the involvement of Hydraulx, a company which the Strause brothers founded. Hydralux produced the special effects for ‘Battle’ and just straight out produced “Skyline”. According to The Wrap, Sony has sent a letter to Hydraulx claiming the company has been breaching their visual effects agreement and demanding it cease and desist from using equipment that the studio says it owns.
The studio is essentially concerned that the money they paid Hydraulx to work on “Battle Los Angeles” went into develop what has turned out to be a rival project which Hydralux failed to disclose they were working on when accepting the ‘Battle’ effects contract (a major conflict of interest).
Hydraulx however says Sony’s charges are without merit and are an attempt to force the company to delay “Skyline” until after ‘Battle’ is released. Sony was offered the opportunity to distribute the film earlier this year and declined, Relativity and Universal ultimately scoring the rights in May.
Both films screened their first footage at Comic Con last month and scored enthusiastic reactions. “Skyline” has since released its trailer online, whereas ‘Battle’ showed just a three second clip from their trailer.