THE NEW WILL SMITH caper, Focus, includes a scene set at the Super Bowl. Only it's not the Super Bowl—and the teams on the field aren't the Patriots and the Seahawks. They're the Rhinos and the Threshers, from a made-up league called the American Football Franchise of America. This sort of thing happens often in movies, and it drives anyone who knows the difference between the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Sharks bananas. Below are the seven most egregious examples of Hollywood working around copyright issues in an especially unsatisfying way.
This is an article from the March 16, 2015 issue
1 Any Given Sunday (1999)
THE MIAMI SHARKS
Ace Ventura could get the Dolphins' blessing, but this gladiatorial take on the NFL couldn't? Maybe director Oliver Stone needed a private-eye character who talked out of his keister.
2 The Natural (1984)
THE NEW YORK KNIGHTS
Why do real teams like the Cubs appear while Roy Hobbs plays for the fictional Knights? Could you really hit the cover off the ball? And why can't the Pirates catch a break, even on the silver screen?
3 Semi-Pro (2008)
THE FLINT TROPICS
In Will Ferrell's air-ball send-up of the ABA, the only thing more implausible than the Michigan-based Tropics' name is the height of Ferrell's white-guy 'fro.
4 Blue Chips (1994)
THE WESTERN UNIVERSITY DOLPHINS
In which Nick Nolte channels Bob Knight, Shaq delivers his best pre-Kazaam performance and NBA bust Matt Nover is hailed as the next Larry Bird. Matt. Nover.
5 The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Several actual Steelers (hey, Hines Ward!) appeared in this Batman flick only to be terrorized by the muzzled baddie Bane. Remind us why a city plagued by violence and villainy would have a masked outlaw on its helmet?
6 Necessary Roughness (1991)
TEXAS STATE FIGHTIN' ARMADILLOS
Honestly, why even bother going for authenticity when your college football squad features Jason Bateman, Sinbad and Kathy Ireland (!?) as its clutch field goal kicker?
7 Slap Shot (1977)
This classic look at minor league hockey features the greatest plug for the ancillary uses of aluminum foil, but the less said about the Hanson brothers' two straight-to-video sequels, the better.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
The course of the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska had to be moved for only the second time in 43 years because of a snow shortage.