Paramount Pictures Sued For Copyright Infringement Over Top Gun: Maverick

Having sped past the $500 million mark in just one week, Top Gun: Maverick continues to break box office records worldwide. The film is already Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing domestic release and is on track to be his all-time best performing film as well. Top Gun: Maverick is also Paramount Pictures’ best box-office entry in a decade, but a new lawsuit aims to derail the studio’s resounding success.

Tony Scott’s 1986 classic Top Gun was inspired by Ehud Yonay’s article Top Guns, published in California magazine three years prior. While Ehud is no more, his wife and son, Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, who live in Israel, claim Paramount Pictures violated copyright when it released Top Gun: Maverick. Ehud was duly credited in Top Gun, but the 2022 sequel makes no mention of the writer or the article that inspired the original.

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Per section 203 of the Copyright Act, authors have the right to terminate the transfers of copyright after at least 35 years from the date of grant or publication. The Yonays filed a notice in 2018 to recover the rights to the story, and the copyright ultimately reverted to them in January 2020. Paramount says that Top Gun: Maverick was completed by 2019, but the Yonays allege that didn’t happen till May 2021. They argue that Paramount failed to re-acquire a new license for the 1983 article, which inspired the original film and its “derivative” 2022 sequel.

The Yonays claim Paramount deliberately ignored the Copyright act and seek unspecified damages, injunctive relief, profits from Top Gun: Maverick, and to block the studio from “developing, producing, or distributing the 2022 Sequel and any other derivative work based in whole or in part on the Story and/or the 1986 Film.” The Yonays are represented by Marc Toberoff, a veteran of copyright and entertainment litigation. He is currently involved in several major cases with big studios like Marvel and also the long-running Friday the 13th lawsuit.

In its defense, Paramount Pictures released a statement (via Reuters) saying,

“These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Paramount Has Hit a New Box Office High With Top Gun: Maverick

Paramount Pictures

Releasing after several delays, reshoots, a pandemic, and a 36-year sequel gap, Top Gun: Maverick had several factors working against it. But the film surpassed all expectations when it premiered over the Memorial Day weekend. Featuring a relatively simple storyline, likable characters, pulse-pounding sound design, and aerial sequences that literally take your breath away, Top Gun: Maverick is a satisfying crowdpleaser that’ll go down as one of the greatest action films in history.

Top Gun: Maverick is nearing the $300 million stateside mark and has received an A+ cinema score from moviegoers. The film has already broken several records and is still not showing any signs of slowing down. Top Gun: Maverick dropped just 32% in the second weekend, which is quite impressive for a big-budget film.

The last time a Paramount produced film performed so well was in 2014 when Transformers: Age of Extinction made $1.1 billion worldwide, but unlike Top Gun: Maverick, it played in Russia and China. While it’s unlikely that Top Gun: Maverick will cross the billion mark, it is expected to at least overtake Mission Impossible – Fallout as Cruise’s highest-grossing film ever. The $350 million domestic record held by Transformers: Dark of the Moon is also in sight.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski and starring Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, and Monica Barbaro, Top Gun: Maverick is currently playing in theaters worldwide.