S. Victor Whitmill created the intricate facial tattoos for boxer Mike Tyson, who appeared as himself in The Hangover. The artist claims he has exclusive rights to the tattoo. Ed Helms' character sports a facial tattoo that is quite similar to Mike Tyson's ink in The Hangover Part II, and the artist is suing since the studio did not ask permission to use his design.
Here's an excerpt from the lawsuit below.
"When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. - without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation - has copied Mr. Whitmill's Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor ... This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement."
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction to stop The Hangover Part II's theatrical release. Warner Bros. faced a similar lawsuit over The Dukes of Hazzard, where the studio had to hand out a hefty settlement to the authors of the original source material.
Warner Bros. didn't comment on the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday. We'll be sure to keep you posted with any updates on this potential threat to The Hangover Part II's theatrical release.
The Hangover Part II was released May 26th, 2011 and stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Jamie Chung, Paul Giamatti, Nick Cassavetes. The film is directed by Todd Phillips.