When the film “American Pie” hit movie theaters in the summer of 1999, many Michiganders might have felt a kinship with the group of sex-starved teenagers who talked of attending college in Ann Arbor and East Lansing.
But in the upcoming sequel “American Pie II,” which takes place the summer after the characters” first year at college, there will be no such references as both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University have denied Universal Studios the use of their names or logos.
“It loses a coolness factor,” said screenwriter Adam Herz. A University of Michigan alum, Herz graduated in 1996 and said he is upset with how the denial was handled by his alma mater.
The University denied Universal Studios” original request, but Herz called again to plead as a recent alum. He was turned down in a fashion that he called “just pathetic.”
“In one way, it”s understandable because in one way we”re a hard-R raunchy comedy,” Herz said. On the other hand, “I am an alum, a very successful graduate. I had just been asked to come up to Michigan to speak.”
When Herz”s request was made to use the name and logos of the University, the proposal was reviewed and rejected.
“The script and proposal were self-described as “raunchy humor” and this was a key factor in the decision,” said University spokeswoman Julie Peterson.
Though Herz still plans to visit the University”s film and video department, the refusal has left him with a rather sour taste in his mouth about the institution.
Herz said the University only “cares about your money” money which Herz said he has no intention of handing over following the recent events.
“I love to help students out. I wouldn”t have made it if people hadn”t done the same for me,” he said. “Will I donate to a corporation? No.”
Though the University official who spoke with Herz would not comment on record, Peterson outlined the procedure taken by the University in matters of trademark licensing.
The University receives an average of between five and 10 requests a year to shoot films on location, make reference to the University or use materials with University insignia, Peterson said.
Decisions concerning on-location filming are made by the Office of the Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations. In the case of “American Pie II” the University Trademark Licensing Office made the call with consultation from the general counsel”s office.
“Our policy states that proposed projects cannot “disrupt day-to-day activities on our campus” and should not be “in conflict with the goals and ideals of the University.”” Peterson said. “We always review relevant portions of the script to ensure whether the material is consistent with our educational mission.”
In recent years permission has been given to the Warner Bros. Television show “Sister, Sister” to use background footage of the University where the main characters were said to be attending college.
The Trademark Licensing Office also worked in conjunction with the Athletic Department to allow actor Charlie Sheen to wear a Michigan baseball uniform on ABC”s “Spin City.”
Herz may have been thrown a strike, but he is not out of the game. The same thing happened with the original “American Pie.”
Though Michigan State University allowed him to use a representation of its campus, Herz said the University of Michigan denied the film”s production offices the right to use its fight song or its name.
“We can say “Michigan” or “State,” but not the full names,” Herz said. “If you know from the first movie, then hopefully you can figure it out.”
“American Pie II” is currently in production in Malibu, Calif. and is scheduled for release at the end of this year.