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The character King Kong has become one of the world's most famous movie icons, having inspired a number of sequels, remakes, spin-offs, imitators, parodies, cartoons, books, comics , video games, theme park rides, and a stage play. In the original film, the character's name is Kong, a name given to him by the inhabitants of " Skull Island " in the Indian Ocean , where Kong lives along with other oversized animals such as a plesiosaur , pterosaurs and various dinosaurs.

Kong escapes and climbs the Empire State Building , only to fall from the skyscraper after being attacked by airplanes with guns. Denham comments "it wasn't the airplanes, It was beauty killed the beast," for he climbs the building in the first place only in an attempt to protect Ann Darrow, an actress originally offered up to Kong on Skull Island as a sacrifice in the remake, her character is named "Dwan".

A documentary about Skull Island that appears on the DVD for the remake originally seen on the Sci-Fi Channel at the time of its theatrical release gives Kong's scientific name as " Megaprimatus kong " [5] "Megaprimatus", deriving from the prefix " mega- " and the Latin words " primate " and " primatus ", means "big primate " or "big supreme being" and states that his species may be related to Gigantopithecus , though that genus of giant ape is more closely related to orangutans than to gorillas.

Cooper became fascinated by gorillas at the age of 6. The book written in , chronicled the adventures of Paul Du Chaillu in Africa and his various encounters with the natives and wildlife there.

Decades later in his adult years, Cooper became involved in the motion picture industry. While filming The Four Feathers in Africa, he came into contact with a family of baboons.

This gave him the idea to make a picture about primates. As the story was being fleshed out, Cooper decided to make his gorilla giant sized. Cooper stated that the idea of Kong fighting warplanes on top of a building came from him seeing a plane flying over the New York Insurance Building , then the tallest building in the world. However I always believed in personalizing and focusing attention on one main character and from the very beginning I intended to make it the gigantic gorilla, no matter what else I surrounded him with".

Once the film got green-lit and it came time to design King Kong, Cooper wanted him to be a nightmarish gorilla monster. As he described him in a memo, "His hands and feet have the size and strength of steam shovels; his girth is that of a steam boiler.

This is a monster with the strength of a hundred men. But more terrifying is the head—a nightmare head with bloodshot eyes and jagged teeth set under a thick mat of hair, a face half-beast half-human". O'Brien on the other hand, wanted him to be almost human-like to gain audience empathy, and told Delgado to "make that ape almost human".

The end result which was rejected was described as looking like a missing link. Cooper was very fond of strong, hard-sounding words that started with the letter "K".

Some of his favorite words were " Komodo ", " Kodiak " and " Kodak ". This scenario would eventually evolve into Kong's battle with the tyrannosaur on Skull Island when the film was produced a few years later at RKO.

Cooper's friend Douglas Burden's trip to the island of Komodo and his encounter with the Komodo dragons was a big influence on the Kong story. He loved the name, as it had a "mystery sound" to it. RKO executives were unimpressed with the bland title.

Selznick suggested Jungle Beast as the film's new title, [27] but Cooper was unimpressed and wanted to name the film after the main character.

He stated he liked the "mystery word" aspect of Kong's name and that the film should carry "the name of the leading mysterious, romantic, savage creature of the story" such as with Dracula and Frankenstein. King of Beasts , Kong: The Jungle King , and Kong: The Jungle Beast , which combined his and Selznick's proposed titles. Selznick thought that audiences would think that the film, with the one word title of Kong , would be mistaken as a docudrama like Grass and Chang , which were one-word titled films that Cooper had earlier produced, he added the "King" to Kong's name to differentiate it.

In mid, it was announced that a musical adaptation of the story endorsed by Merian C. Cooper's estate was going to be staged in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre. The show premiered on June 15, , with music by Marius De Vries. The musical will appear on Broadway starting in the fall of Cooper asked his friend Delos W.

Lovelace to adapt the film's screenplay into a novelization. This was a part of the film's advance marketing campaign. The novelization was credited as being based on the "Screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose. Novelized from the Radio Picture". However, despite the credit, Wallace had very little to do with the story or the character. In an interview, author-artist Joe DeVito explains:.

Wallace died of pneumonia complicated by diabetes on February 10, , and Cooper later said, "Actually, Edgar Wallace didn't write any of Kong , not one bloody word I'd promised him credit and so I gave it to him" p. Cooper issued a reprint of the novelization in that was published by Bantam Books. Some time later the copyright expired and the publishing rights to the book fell into the public domain.

Since then a myriad of publishers have reprinted the novelization numerous times. Outside of the novelization, the film was serialized in a pulp magazine.

K, the film was serialized in 2 different pulps both on October 28, In the juvenile Boys Magazine Vol In , a novelization of the remake of King Kong was published by Ace Books. The cover was done by Frank Frazetta. Cooper", the book was published by the Turner Publishing Company. It was re-released as a paperback in the U. K in by Picture Corgi. To coincide with the remake of King Kong , various books were released to tie into the film. Matt Costello wrote an official prequel to the film called King Kong: The Island of the Skull.

These books were published by Pocket Books. Various illustrated juvenile books were published, as well, by Harper Books: Weta Workshop released a collection of concept art from the film entitled The World of Kong: The book was written and designed to resemble and read like an actual nature guide and historical record.

In , Ibooks, Inc. King of Skull Island. It also included an introduction by Ray Harryhausen. A large-paperback edition was then released in , with extra pages at the end of the book. Cooper's King Kong for the Merian C. This book was published by St. It was a full rewrite of the original novelization, which updates the language and paleontology and adds five new chapters.

Some additional elements and characters tie into Kong: King of Skull Island enabling the two separate books to form a continuous storyline. In , the first of two books featuring crossovers with pulp heroes was published. Skull Island in both softcover and hardcover editions. This officially sanctioned book was written by Will Murray and based on concepts by DeVito. The novel, called King Kong vs. Tarzan , was once again written by Will Murray and featured artwork by Devito.

In March , to coincide with the release of Kong: Skull Island by Simon Ward. Over the decades, there have been numerous comic books based on King Kong by various comic-book publishers. For details on this aspect of the character's print media appearances see King Kong comics. In his first appearance in King Kong , Kong was a gigantic prehistoric ape, or as RKO's publicity materials described him, " A prehistoric type of ape.

Indeed, Carl Denham describes him as being " neither beast nor man ". Like most simians, Kong possesses semi-human intelligence and great physical strength. Kong's size changes drastically throughout the course of the film. While creator Merian C. Cooper envisioned Kong as being " 40 to 50 feet This did not stop Cooper from playing around with Kong's size as he directed the special effect sequences; by manipulating the sizes of the miniatures and the camera angles, he made Kong appear a lot larger than O'Brien wanted, even as large as 60 feet I was a great believer in constantly changing Kong's height to fit the settings and the illusions.

He's different in almost every shot; sometimes he's only 18 feet tall and sometimes 60 feet or larger. This broke every rule that O'Bie and his animators had ever worked with, but I felt confident that if the scenes moved with excitement and beauty, the audience would accept any height that fitted into the scene.

For example, if Kong had only been 18 feet high on the top of the Empire State Building, he would have been lost, like a little bug; I constantly juggled the heights of trees and dozens of other things. The one essential thing was to make the audience enthralled with the character of Kong so that they wouldn't notice or care that he was 18 feet high or 40 feet, just as long as he fitted the mystery and excitement of the scenes and action. Concurrently, the Kong bust made for the film was built in scale with a foot For more details on these versions of the character see below.

This resulted in King Kong This Kong was an upright walking anthropomorphic ape, appearing even more human-like than the original. Also like the original, this Kong had semi-human intelligence and vast strength.

In the film, Kong was scaled to be 42 feet This Kong had more or less the same appearance and abilities, but tended to walk on his knuckles more often and was enlarged, scaled to 60 feet Universal Studios had planned to do a King Kong remake as far back as They finally followed through almost 30 years later, with a three-hour film directed by Peter Jackson.

Jackson opted to make Kong a gigantic silverback gorilla without any anthropomorphic features. This Kong looked and behaved more like a real gorilla: In order to ground his Kong in realism, Jackson and the Weta Digital crew gave a name to his fictitious species Megaprimatus kong and suggested it to have evolved from the Gigantopithecus. Kong was the last of his kind. He was portrayed in the film as being quite old, with graying fur and battle-worn with scars, wounds, and a crooked jaw from his many fights against rival creatures.

He is the dominant being on the island, the king of his world. But, like his film predecessors, he possesses considerable intelligence and great physical strength; he also appears far more nimble and agile. This Kong was scaled to a consistent height of 25 feet 7. We assumed that Kong is the last surviving member of his species. He's the last of the huge gorillas that live on Skull Island He's a very lonely creature, absolutely solitary.

It must be one of the loneliest existences you could ever possibly imagine. Every day, he has to battle for his survival against very formidable dinosaurs on the island, and it's not easy for him. He's carrying the scars of many former encounters with dinosaurs. And he has never felt a single bit of empathy for another living creature in his long life; it has been a brutal life that he's lived.

In the film Kong: Skull Island , Kong is scaled to be feet This is something that is its own species. That version is very much a scaled-up silverback gorilla, and ours is something that is slightly more exaggerated.

A big mandate for us was, How do we make this feel like a classic movie monster? Co-producer Mary Parent also stated that Kong is still young and not fully grown as she explains, "Kong is an adolescent when we meet him in the film; he's still growing into his role as alpha".

While one of the most famous movie icons in history, King Kong's intellectual property status has been questioned since his creation, featuring in numerous allegations and court battles. The rights to the character have always been split up with no single exclusive rights holder. Different parties have also contested that various aspects are public domain material and therefore ineligible for copyright status.

Cooper created King Kong, he assumed that he owned the character, which he had conceived in , outright. Cooper maintained that he had only licensed the character to RKO for the initial film and sequel but had otherwise owned his own creation. In , Cooper began to feel something was amiss when he was trying to get a Tarzan vs. King Kong project off the ground for Pioneer Pictures where he had assumed management of the company.

Selznick suggested the project to Cooper, the flurry of legal activity over using the Kong character that followed—Pioneer had become a completely independent company by this time and access to properties that RKO felt were theirs was no longer automatic—gave Cooper pause as he came to realize that he might not have full control over this product of his own imagination.

Cooper had assumed his rights were unassailable and was bitterly opposed to the project. In he filed a lawsuit to enjoin distribution of the movie against John Beck as well as Toho and Universal the film's U.

Cooper's executive assistant, Charles B FitzSimons, stated that these companies should be negotiating through him and Cooper for such licensed products and not RKO. In a letter to Robert Bendick, Cooper stated:. My hassle is about King Kong. I created the character long before I came to RKO and have always believed I retained subsequent picture rights and other rights. Cooper and his legal team offered up various documents to bolster the case that Cooper owned King Kong and had only licensed the character to RKO for two films, rather than selling him outright.

Many people vouched for Cooper's claims including David O. Selznick, who had written a letter to Mr. Without these letters it seemed Cooper's rights were relegated to the Lovelace novelization that he had copyrighted he was able to make a deal for a Bantam Books paperback reprint and a Gold Key comic adaptation of the novel, but that was all he could do.

For the sake of the record, I wish to state that I am not in negotiation with you or Mr. Cooper or anyone else to define Mr. Cooper's rights in respect of King Kong. His rights are well defined, and they are non-existent, except for certain limited publication rights.

It seems my hassle over King Kong is destined to be a protracted one. They'd make me sorry I ever invented the beast, if I weren't so fond of him! Makes me feel like Macbeth: The rights over the character did not flare up again until , when Universal Studios and Dino De Laurentiis were fighting over who would be able to do a King Kong remake for release the following year.

During the legal battles that followed, which eventually included RKO countersuing Universal, as well as De Laurentiis filing a lawsuit claiming interference, Colonel Richard Cooper Merian's son and now head of the Cooper estate jumped into the fray.

During the battles, Universal discovered that the copyright of the Lovelace novelization had expired without renewal, thus making the King Kong story a public domain one.

Universal argued that they should be able to make a movie based on the novel without infringing on anyone's copyright because the characters in the story were in the public domain within the context of the public domain story. In a four-day bench trial in Los Angeles, Judge Manuel Real made the final decision and gave his verdict on November 24, , affirming that the King Kong novelization and serialization were indeed in the public domain, and Universal could make its movie as long as it did not infringe on original elements in the RKO film, [65] which had not passed into public domain.

However, on December 6, , Judge Real made a subsequent ruling, which held that all the rights in the name, character, and story of King Kong outside of the original film and its sequel belonged to Merian C. This ruling, which became known as the "Cooper Judgment," expressly stated that it would not change the previous ruling that publishing rights of the novel and serialization were in the public domain. It was a huge victory that affirmed the position Merian C.

Cooper had maintained for years. In Judge Real dismissed the claims that were brought forth by RKO and Universal four years earlier and reinstated the Cooper judgement. In Universal filed a lawsuit against Nintendo , which had created an impish ape character called Donkey Kong in and was reaping huge profits over the video game machines.

Universal claimed that Nintendo was infringing on its copyright because Donkey Kong was a blatant rip-off of King Kong. The courts ruled that trademark was not among the rights Cooper had sold to Universal, indicating that "Cooper plainly did not obtain any trademark rights in his judgment against RKO, since the California district court specifically found that King Kong had no secondary meaning.

The courts also pointed out that Kong rights were held by three parties:. First, Universal knew that it did not have trademark rights to King Kong, yet it proceeded to broadly assert such rights anyway. This amounted to a wanton and reckless disregard of Nintendo's rights. Second, Universal did not stop after it asserted its rights to Nintendo. It embarked on a deliberate, systematic campaign to coerce all of Nintendo's third party licensees to either stop marketing Donkey Kong products or pay Universal royalties.

Finally, Universal's conduct amounted to an abuse of judicial process, and in that sense caused a longer harm to the public as a whole. Depending on the commercial results, Universal alternatively argued to the courts, first, that King Kong was a part of the public domain, and then second, that King Kong was not part of the public domain, and that Universal possessed exclusive trademark rights in it.

Universal's assertions in court were based not on any good faith belief in their truth, but on the mistaken belief that it could use the courts to turn a profit. Because Universal misrepresented their degree of ownership of King Kong claiming they had exclusive trademark rights when they knew they did not and tried to have it both ways in court regarding the "public domain" claims, the courts ruled that Universal acted in bad faith see Universal City Studios, Inc.

They were ordered to pay fines and all of Nintendo's legal costs from the lawsuit. That, along with the fact that the courts ruled that there was simply no likelihood of people confusing Donkey Kong with King Kong, [69] caused Universal to lose the case and the subsequent appeal. Since the court case, Universal still retains the majority of the character rights. In they opened a King Kong ride called King Kong Encounter at their Universal Studios Tour theme park in Hollywood which was destroyed in by a backlot fire , and followed it up with the Kongfrontation ride at their Orlando park in which was closed down in due to maintenance issues.

They also finally made a King Kong film of their own, King Kong Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Skull Island to Warner Bros. The Cooper estate Richard M. Cooper LLC retains publishing rights for the content they claim. In they licensed a six-issue comic book adaptation of the story to Monster Comics, and commissioned an illustrated novel in called Anthony Browne's King Kong.

In they became involved with a musical stage play based on the story, called King Kong The Eighth Wonder of the World which premiered on June in Australia [78] [79] and will come to Broadway in November These included a pair of origin novels, an origin themed comic series with Boom! Studios , [82] a rewrite of the original Lovelace novelization the original novelization's publishing rights are still in the public domain , as well as various crossovers with other franchises such as Doc Savage , Tarzan [40] and The Planet of the Apes.

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