That Time Cyrus From the Warriors (Roger Hill) Sued Rockstar Games for $250K
We have lost two icons of New York City this week. First there was Harold Ramis, now there was Roger Hill. Hill wasn't as big a name as the Ghostbuster but his influence can't be understated. With one single performance that hardly gave him any screentime he made a cinematic icon out of Cyrus, the gang leader in The Warriors that was trying to unite the gangs of New York.
When an adaptation of the 1979 film was released in 2005 for the PS2 and Xbox, Rockstar Games made a killing off of it, earning at least $37 million in revenue right away. Roger Hill had declined money from the company to provide his voice and likeness but Cyrus ended up in the game anyway, visually, at least. When Hill saw how much money they made he sued Take Two and Rockstar, demanding $250k in damages and for the court to bar the use of his likeness. After all, how dare they get another actor to dub his famous speech?
And you know what? Without Roger Hill's involvement the scene suffered greatly, as you can see here. Without Hill's booming performance the power of the scene was lost. His call to arms is among the most-quoted and loved in all of film, especially among New Yorkers, gang-bangers or not. Now one mere cutscene may not matter so much in a videogame where much of your time is spent mindlessly beating up rival gang members, but still- Cyrus without Roger Hill wasn't Cyrus. Nearly every original actor from The Warriors had no qualms about returning to their roles, especially since some of them had far larger roles than they had in the original film, but Hill just didn't want to be involved.
Unfortunately there seems to have been no verdict in the case, so it's unlikely that Hill ever got his money before his death. Rockstar Games claimed in a statement that the company "has a valid third-party license for the rights to use Roger Hill's likeness and the character of Cyrus in The Warriors video game and related marketing materials". That could easily be the case but considering that he was approached by them before they started work on the project it was still shady for them to use his likeness without his permission.
Rockstar Games' The Warriors is on sale as a PS2 Classic on PSN and is still well worth playing, although during Cyrus' classic scene you may want to switch to the movie version instead. There's simply nothing better than this. Can you dig it?