Hey, have you seen that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fan film with James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff that’s been going around? Pretty cool, right? If you haven’t, better get on that quick, because according to Deadline Haim Saban, the billionaire producer who owns the U.S. rights to the Power Rangers franchise, is trying to shut the whole thing down.
Joseph Kahn, the veteran music-video director who spent nine months working on Power/Rangers and claims to have paid for the fan film entirely out of his own pocket, says that Saban has been “harassing” him ever since the video went viral. Saban has already successfully petitioned for the film to be removed from Vimeo, and although Kahn may be able to argue, as he already has on Twitter, that the video is protected under the “fair use” doctrine, if he loses his petition and the film is removed from YouTube as well, it could set a chilling precedent for fan films to come. (As of this writing, Power/Rangers is still up on YouTube, with more than 7.5 million views.)
And although Power/Rangers does put a darker spin on the series—Kahn tells Deadline, “I just wanted to make Power Rangers good for once…I took the silliest property I could think of and tried to see if I could make it serious enough”—Saban’s objections probably have more to do with the fact that Saban is currently developing a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie with Lionsgate than anything else.
So, Saban, if you’re reading this, we have a proposal for you. You’re a businessman. So why not see this for what it is—free advertising for your Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot. In fact, why not hire Joseph Kahn and Dredd producer Adi Shankar, the creative team behind Power/Rangers, to make your Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot? They’re obviously fans—they shelled out for James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff, for fuck’s sake—and people like their take on the franchise. That way you make money, they gain legitimacy, and the genius take on Samurai Pizza Cats that‘s currently rattling around in someone’s head might someday actually get made. Deal?