“The Wild and Complicated Story of the Rights to King Kong

At, Spencer Perry talks about the history of King Kong, who exactly holds the rights to the character and how that plays out in movies and musicals. “To fully appreciate the complexities of the complicated rights situation to Kong, we have to go all the way back to before his creation when he was just a pie in the sky idea by one Merian C. Cooper. Cooper would conceive of the idea for the movie King Kong in the late 1920s and early 1930s before eventually landing at the doorstep of one RKO Pictures, who agreed to produce the film after getting a glimpse of the creature models created by Willis O’Brien. In his book, Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong, author Mark Cotta Vaz reveals that Cooper declined to take a salary for co-directing and co-producing the film, instead making a deal to retain the rights to King Kong as a property afterward. In addition to the feature film they were producing, Cooper would commission a novelization of the screenplay, to be released before the film to build up anticipation.”

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