LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fans outraged that a sequel to a beloved holiday film is in the works are no longer out in the cold.
A spokeswoman for Paramount Pictures, who owns the rights to "It's a Wonderful Life," said Wednesday that the studio would fight a group of producers who are working on a follow-up to the 1946 holiday classic. Directed by Frank Capra, the film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a desperate family man who imagines during Christmas time what his town would be like if he'd never been born.
"No project relating to 'It's a Wonderful Life' can proceed without a license from Paramount," the studio noted in a statement after Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions announced their sequel plans Monday. "To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights."
The Internet collectively groaned this week when Bob Farnsworth, president of Nashville, Tenn.-based Hummingbird Productions, and Allen J. Schwalb, president of Orlando, Fla.-based Star Partners, unveiled their pitch for "It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story," a follow-up that would focus on Bailey's unlikeable grandson.
"This can't be real," many tweeted.
"Please don't," posted others.
"Maybe George Bailey should have killed himself after all," said one blogger.
Soon celebrities were chiming in:
"I don't know if they have a title yet, but if not, I have a suggestion. I would call it 'It's a Terrible Idea,'" joked Jimmy Kimmel.
"Stop messing with classics, people! What's next? 'Gone with the Wind 2'?" pondered Andy Cohen.
"It would've been better if we'd never been born," tweeted comedian John Fugelsang.
Farnsworth and Schwalb said the film would star Karolyn Grimes, who played Bailey's daughter in the original film, as an angel who comes to the aid of her nephew. They also said they were in talks with other surviving cast members to return. The producers estimated it would cost between $25 and $32 million, far less than many Hollywood remakes and sequels.