MARVEL Shuts Down Punisher Fan Film

Sure, Marvel has every right to govern its wide world of superheroes with an iron fist, but this seems like a bit much.

In a bizarre move, the studio has officially requested that production on the Punisher fan film THE DEAD CAN’T BE DISTRACTED must cease and that all marketing materials associated with the flick be removed from circulation.  Based on Greg Rucka’s semi-re-imagined version of the classic Frank Castle, this little fan piece was meant to be everything that the original 3 Punisher flicks weren’t: a true adaption of the source material.

So why did the big boys shut it down? Well, Marvel Studios has claimed that the movie would confuse the public, which is pretty damn flattering for the fan flick’s creator Mike Pecci.  The House of Ideas considers this little pet project a rival for their silver screen empire?  Awesome!  But it’s also a strange warning to the rest of fandom, who so passionately produce fan films.

Here’s exactly what Marvel wrote to Pecci:

“While we appreciate your affection for the character, we must demand that you immediately stop your unauthorized use, advertising, sale and/or distribution of any production of The Punisher or any other Marvel character-based films therefor, and any other use of the images, likenesses, artwork or other intellectual property owned by Marvel.”

“Your actions confuse consumers into believing that they are viewing an authentic Marvel production or one sponsored or licensed by Marvel, when they are not.”

“Marvel reserves the right to take whatever remedies are available to it at law and in equity, and shall do whatever best protects its interests.”

Hmmm… Mysteries. Mysteries. Before we delve to deep, though, make sure you take a look at Pecci’s teaser trailer.

Will our future projects be jeopardized by this decision?  Will I have to discontinue my own fan film “Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4:  A Big Steve Production“?  Or did Marvel specifically target this Punisher fan film for another reason?

The writer of the original tale which inspired this flick, Greg Rucka, along with the comic’s artist, Marco Checchetto, both support this fan film.  The dude’s who should have the most to bitch about actually endorse Pecci and his flick!

Marco said as much in this pithy statement:

“HOLY SH$T!!! I’m very impressed!!! I don’t know how you did it, but you hit the full atmosphere of my pages!”

I’d like to think that Kevin Feige and the (typically) kind folks at Marvel Studios were a bit conflicted about this “cease and desist” matter.  I’m sure they wouldn’t want to ruin a fan’s dream, especially one that looked so damn awesome (as the above gif from THE DEAD CAN’T BE DISTRACTED reveal), so perhaps it was simply a business conflict.  Could Marvel be hard at work bringing Marvel Knights to the big screen?

If you’re not familiar with this misfit group of loosely affiliated heroes, they’re mostly comprised of New York City’s street level vigilantes: Daredevil, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, and… Punisher.  With Robert Downey Jr.’s final two Marvel movies on the horizon, and both Captain America’s and Thor’s respective individual trilogies nearly completed, a switch in scope to the Marvel Knights would be a welcome respite from the cosmic level threats of The Avengers (considering viewer fatigue and everything).

But back to the main story… Mike Pecci passionately retells his struggle with the fan film on his blog, so make sure you go check it out in full by clicking here.  I sure as hell want to see this short flick, and I doubt I’m “dumb enough” to confuse it with an official Marvel release, so make sure you let the House of Ideas know where you stand.  Tweet them @Marvel.  Tell ’em what you want!


Heyo. I'm Nick Dourian, the Editor-In-Chief around these parts. Now, I went to a few other sites, read a few awesome bios, and I really want to fabricate a badass origins story for myself, but I'm feeling particularly unimaginative today, so 'f' that jazz. I read comics, drink bourbon, and cook meats. Imagine Ron Swanson, but with a fuller beard and cuter eyes.
  • Capital_7

    That looks great, but that’s got to be the weakest title I’ve ever heard.

  • Podd Socks

    the atmosphere in the trailer is awesome, and the girl is cute. i hope we get to see this.

    • Your Daddy

      Same fvcking atmosphere as Punisher War Zone. Geeze, some joe schmoe makes a 4/10 teaser and everyone is all over his dick like he’s the next Gereth Evans. Mortal Kombat Legacy teasers were better than this and those still are nothing spectacular.

      • NowWhosUrDaddy

        What a dumbass!

  • flubalubaful

    Proof beyond doubt that Hollywood is terrified that people will realise you dont need them to create a great movie, I wonder if this is going to be the future of movies, you see they always comment about how piracy is killing them and now they fight to stop movies being released by others, mmmm i think they are becoming obsolete and they are doing everything to fight it. Imagine if the people organising these movies actually start a new franchise, something that grips peoples imagination , Hollywood will make nothing from it , and they are terrified that becomes a business model.

    • m r

      Well said. I remember reading recently that there are already horrible movies like Smurfs2 ? which didn’t even need to sell many tickets because they had already made profits off the advertising in the movie. It’s pretty sick.

      I do not go to the theaters anymore. I only buy movies for $5 or less on black friday if I don’t see them for free via the library or random video services.

      Nonsense like this also makes it a lot harder for talented directors without connections to get some recognition so that they can continue their work. It pretty much gives control to a bunch of asshats whose only concern is to make money regardless of the quality of the work.

    • Jordan

      People that complaing about movies being too mainstream are just stupid. if you don’t want to watch it, don’t

    • James R.

      Let’s just stop this “Hollywood” is a big monster argument right here. The “Hollywood” that combats piracy is the MPAA. The “Hollywood” that owns properties and distributes film is the studios. Two totally different things. Marvel issued this cease and desist.

      As a Punisher reader for 10 years this doesn’t look THAT great. The Frank Castle redemption story structures is one of the easiest stories to replicate. Look at Max Payne. It’s the dialogue and the characters that is hard work. This is why the Garth Ennis Punisher body of work is so great. Honorable mention to Jason Aaron’s PunisherMAX series. IMO Punisher: War Zone was a great adaption of the Ennis material. The merchandise from The Punisher franchise has made way more than any of the films probably combined. I doubt that there are many dedicated readers of Punisher to even know a good film adaption if it hit them in the face. Most of them probably just own a skull logo t-shirt and consider themselves hardcore fans.

      Hollywood is definitely not “terrified” of this movie coming out. They issued the cease and desist in the same fashion as if a well produced Toy Story fan film was coming out. The trailer may look kind of cool but what if it sucks? It’s amateur at best. Does Marvel really want fans to be confused and think there’s another bad Punisher film in the franchise? Especially with all this viral video, internet short, marketing today. The Thomas Jane short, which was great, probably confused a lot of fans into thinking there was another movie coming out and it surprised the studio. Not to mention this is completely out of their control. It’ll stomp on whatever value there is left of the franchise.

      The best thing that will come out of this is that maybe Marvel will realize that there is an ongoing demand for another Punisher movie, as long as they do it right. There have been too much buzz to argue that.

    • Your Daddy

      If you consider this thing a “great movie” then thank f***ing god your ass isn’t in the industry.

  • SlamBushEmi

    The comics I grew up with are now acting as a big brother in order to deliver cease and desist letters to people… Hmmm… Marvel would be nothing without the fans they used to have and do have today….

    • Theron

      Marvel would be nothing without fans….so? Why the fvck do fans deserve any credit for anything.

  • MarkGoyette

    Marvel is Disney now, and unlike Marvel of the past it now protects its shit. In the past Marvel licensed out its IPs without really considering what the production quality might be, when Disney took over they made it quite clear that they would do everything in their power to take back any unused or poorly performing Marvel IPs, which The Punisher falls under both. They don’t care how well fan made stuff looks, they only care about their properties, if you want to use it you have to license it now. Same will likely go for Star Wars, unless by some stretch of divine intervention, meaning Lucas himself, a request has been made that Disney allow it to continue on.



    • yolo

      : Freeloader for life, dick

  • provinceroad

    Whats been confusing is the shit punisher movies hollywood has put out!

  • Willy Mendez

    Thomas Jane did a great job in the Punisher movie!

  • tgm


    • plazmaorb

      Disney had nothing to do with the first two fiascos

  • Lolrax

    Make a better Punisher and people wouldn’t have to do this!!! Do the Punisher some goddamn justice you dicks!!!! FUCK!

  • Klaatu

    They didn’t want to create brand confusion between the people who made Iron Man 3 and people who make good movies?

    Seriously, that film neutered every character and the armor. When they sober up, they need to declare that whole movie a hallucination while Stark was detoxing in Betty Ford or something.

  • Cadillac15

    The teaser trailer actually has my attention more than most hollywood movies do. I hope we get to see it!

    • Theron

      Yeah my favorite part was when nothing compelling happened and they sulked around for a few seconds.

  • Derek

    “The House of Ideas considers this little pet project a rival for their silver screen empire?” No, I think it’s the exact opposite. I am betting Marvel is more worried about quality control. They assume, rightfully, that a shitty fan made movie will be associated with their brand and hurt future box office numbers. Why go to Marvel’s (eventual) Punisher movie when that one you saw on the internet (that you believe was also Marvel) was so awful? That’s their fear, and 99% of the time they are justified.

    However, in this instance, it would seem they are shutting down production on a pretty decent effort, and this sort of underground, indie version of a Marvel property would only serve as a viral marketing campaign for their future movies. They just aren’t willing to take the chance, and it makes sense.

    • James R.

      I agree with you 100%. See my post above.

    • TheDude

      From what I’ve seen of the last Marvel made Punisher movies I think I’d rather see a fan made one than a Mavel made one dude.

    • Gary W Muthig Jr

      How could enough peoplethink somethingonline is really a true film to affect box office, people try to make the case that you wouldnt have enough viewership from a show to confuse to different actors for a character or that you can somehow have 2 different quicksilvers but for some reason you cant have a fan film that not a lot of people will see and is obviuosly a fan film plus no one is confused by all the others ones they have. Dc actually seems to encourage it, like the recent red hood one and ww one. I think they should let these things go and take note of how these canbe good and maybe finance them and actually do them themselves, if they want people not to be confused why not make some short films of their own, and how about recognise up and coming talent instead of shutting it down

  • namealias

    I think you should keep making the movie. Make a kickstarter or indiegogo put the movie up on that as a preview of the type of movie your going to make. You get funding for your next movie. wonder if they could come after you then.

    • Theron

      “I wonder if the multi BILLION dollar company can come after you if you slap their name on a crappy kickstarter movie…you know…since you’ll have the funding.”

  • findingclues4u

    Can someone tell me why they can’t just Call it the Punisher, a Fan Parody? This is exactly how VIVID does their super hero porn parodies.

”In a long line of case law, courts have routinely held that use
    of a title, such as the one at issue in Batman XXX: a Porn Parody, to be
    acceptable as long as the title has artistic relevance to the
    underlying work and it does not explicitly mislead the consumer as to
    the source or content of the work.
    No reasonable person would be misled about whether DC Comics is the sponsor of Vivid’s xxx parody movie.”

    Someone who’s familiar with Bird Law correct me

  • Zeke Stewart

    Watching this trailer makes me want to buy the comic it’s based on. I haven’t even looked at a Punisher comic since they turned him into Franken-castle. It looked like the Punisher had somehow become fun and whimsical, and that’s not exactly what I was looking for when I pick up that comic. So, seeing they had seemingly lost the plot, I removed it from my stack and never looked back. I didn’t even know that Rucka had done a run in the series and he’s one of my favorite writers. He’s perfect for Punisher. If it hadn’t been for this film I may have never known.

    I hope Marvel reconsiders their actions here. Whit if they decide to take a different route? What if, rather than shutting it down, they pick it up? I don’t think they should change the film or offer the production team a bigger budget to re-shoot it. They should just distribute it. What if they make that their new business model: find the best fan films, distribute them (or buy/sell them), then offer the creators some financial backing to make more? I’d say it’s free advertising at it’s best.

    That said, that sounds like the nicest Cease and Desist letter I’ve ever read.

  • eatstoomuchjam

    It’s difficult to tell from that trailer – was someone named Pecci and/or McFarland involved in creating it?

    Seriously, we get it, guys… you’re the two making this thing. No need to pop it up on the screen every 100ms.

  • Mr. J

    since marvel just regained punisher’s movie rights i only hope this means that marvel is planning to make a properly made punisher film soon.

  • Jason

    Definitely too bad about this project. I really wanted to see it. In the meantime, here is another really solid fan film called The Punisher: No Mercy Fan Film that you guys can check out.

  • Ph.

    could they at least post it for free online? like the Mortal Kombat/ Street Fighter, and so many other fan projects? – if not, just change the name of the character and call it a parody P:

  • PoliteElliot

    Pretty obvious really. Its an incredibly violent property involving lots of guns. The wrong story combined with poor timing, like right around one of the US’s frequent gun rampages, and an expensive Marvel IP could get splashed all across the media for all the wrong reasons. Its a shame, but understandable. Oh yeah, bring back Thomas Jane!

  • Gary W Muthig Jr

    How can they stop this when there are so many other fan films and how do they think people would be confused its obvious whenthings are fan films or independent ones, you cant see it in theater or dvd and its online and only find it whenyou looking so you know what it is. Marvel and dc have a bunch of short films like this made of them how is it any different. They should see this as a way to see the character done different and then if its good offer to have them do it with big budget. Even still how could people confuse it for a real marvel project