it's a Wonderful Life Sequel News

Contrary to recent news about the production of a sequel to the perennial Holiday season favorite, It's a Wonderful Life, Paramount says, "not so fast."

A spokesperson for the studio which owns the rights to the film is on the record as saying they would block a group of producers who recently pitched It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story. This follow-up would reportedly focus on Bailey's unlikeable grandson.

Fans became outraged at the news that broke earlier this week and almost instantaneously began voicing displeasure with an online and social media campaign to thwart the efforts of Nashville-based Hummingbird Productions led by Bob Farnsworth and Allen J. Schwalb.

"Maybe George Bailey should have killed himself after all," said one blogger.

Jimmy Kimmel joked, "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."

Paramount is quick to point out that Farnsworth et. al. have yet to approach the studio about acquiring rights for a sequel, and when asked, the filmmaker told the Hollywood Reporter that trade publication rights had expired and It's a Wonderful Life is in the public domain.

Well, that's no longer accurate.

Many may recall that the film's 1974 lapsed copyright led to an endless barrage of repeated airings in the '80s and '90s, but Paramount has since re-secured the rights and only licenses the film's airing to NBC, which runs it sparingly during the holidays.

The studio stated its clear intent to protect the film's copyright and honor its legacy when it responded to Hummingbird's announcement of the sequel by stating, "No project relating to It's a Wonderful Life can proceed without a license from Paramount." The studio further added, "to date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights."

While the statement makes it perfectly clear that any projects involving Frank Capra's holiday classic would not be approved without Paramount's blessing, a look behind the message's carefully worded intent doesn't necessarily rule out the studio's association in any sequels. But if fan reaction to the news of a sequel is any indication, Farnsworth's project would likely have a tough time finding an accepting audience. It's also worth pointing out the family of Frank Capra, who died in 1991 isn't getting behind the project either.

For the record, Farnsworth and Schwalb said the film would star Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey's young daughter Zuzu in the original, as an angel who comes to the aide of her nephew. The producers are also reportedly in talks with other surviving cast members to return.

The film is estimated to have a budget of between $25 and $30 million, but please, before this thing goes any further, please fix that terrible title.