Battle Of The Alien Invasion Films

Sony, which will be releasing Battle Los Angeles next year, is getting jumpy about Skyline , released later this year… Partly because the directors of one of them produced the FX on the other

The battleground is LA. But we’re not talking human versus aliens here, but alien invasion film versus alien invasion film. Apparently Sony, which is releasing Battle Los Angeles next year, was a little miffed when the teaser trailer for Skyline (to be released later this year) featuring alien spaceships hovering over LA went live earlier this month. But this isn’t a simple case of two films with similar ideas being developed concurrently; that happens all the time (think Armageddon and Deep Impact ). What really got Sony’s space goat was that a couple of guys they hired to do the FX on Battle Los Angeles just happened to be the directors of Skyline .

Yep, the Strause Brothers, Greg and Colin (who foisted Alien Versus Predator Requiem on us a few years back) own the FX house Hydraulx, which worked on Battle Los Angeles , while at the same time the brothers were creating Skyline , apparently for peanuts, with their appartment as the production base.

Now, according to Deadline New York , “SPE lawyers have just started digging into the matter… At issue: did Hydraulx and its owners owe SPE (Sony Pictures Entertainment) a heads-up? Hydraulx was hired by SPE in early 2009 to be one of the primary VFX vendors on Battle: Los Angeles . That gave Hydraulx access to proprietary information that included script drafts, storyboards, and pre-viz animatics. The Strause brothers had already seen the Battle: Los Angeles script, I’m told, because they were considered as potential directors.”

A rep for the Strause brothers commented: “Any claims of impropriety are completely baseless. This is a blatant attempt by Sony to force these independent filmmakers to move a release date that has long been set by Universal and Relativity and is outside the filmmakers' control.”

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.