We've seen a few fan-made Punisher short films over the years, but this is the first short film I've heard of that Marvel is shutting down. It's called The Dead Can't Be Distracted, and it came from director Mike Pecci. The story was based on a comic run by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto.
Marvel ended up sending a cease-and-desist letter to Pecci to "immediately stop unauthorized use, advertising, sale and/or distribution of any production of The Punisher or any other Marvel character-based films." Which means the movie can never be released without Marvel jumping on his ass. Pecci explains
"According to Marvel it would ‘confuse the audience’ into believing that it's an official Marvel production. At first, I was flattered that the quality of our work might even compare to the millions they spend on production and advertising, but then the reality of it all set in. Marvel legal was demanding that I don’t release the film! Since when does Marvel go after fan films? Wasn’t there a recent and heavily promoted Punisher fan film with Thomas Jane? What could I do about this?
What would you do when staring at a letter from one of the biggest, wealthiest companies in the movie business? They can put me out of business with the snap of their fingers. Do I have a beef with Marvel? Absolutely not. I think they have become so huge and that my film is lost in the belly of the corporate beast. I want the right people at Marvel to see this film, to rescue our film, and to hopefully be inspired by my love for this character. … Write to Marvel. Tell them that you want to see this film. Tell them you want to see our Punisher on the small screen.”
I'm not sure why Marvel is shutting it down, it's not like the filmmakers are going to make any money off of it. It's a fan film! Fan films are made all the time. Does this mean Marvel is going to start going after everyone that makes a fan film? If not, then why did they go after this one? You can watch the trailer for it below. It's a shame we won't get to see the full film. It looks like it could be awesome.