Top Gun: Maverick may have been soaring high during the summer, but Paramount has failed to ground a copyright lawsuit logged against the movie. In the lawsuit raised by the widow and son of the author of an article that inspired the original Top Gun, it is claimed that the belated sequel fails to adhere to termination rights and was essentially made without their authorization. While Paramount attempted to have the case thrown out, Deadline reported that it will not be as simple as that for the studio to see off the claims.
The main crux of the case is that Israeli-based Shosh and Yuval Yonay claim that the rights to the “Top Guns” article, which was published back in May 1983 in California magazine and optioned immediately and led to the original 1986 movie, reverted to them in 2020. While Paramount claimed that Top Gun: Maverick was filmed before the date the rights reverted in January 2020, and also added that the movie was covered under the “prior derivative works exception” rule, it looks like that was not enough to get the case dismissed. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said in a court order:
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“Defendant’s primary argument in its Motion to Dismiss is that Plaintiffs have not sufficiently pled in their FAC that the Article and the Sequel are ‘substantially similar,’ The Court disagrees. For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court denies the Motion to Dismiss. The Court concludes that the FAC contains sufficient well-pleaded facts to state viable claims for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and declaratory relief.”
Paramount responded to Deadline with their own statement, commenting:
“While the Court declined to dismiss the case at this very early stage in the proceedings, we will continue to vigorously defend this lawsuit and are confident that discovery will confirm that the claims have no merit.”
Will Paramount End Up Paying Big For Top Gun: Maverick’s Belated Success?
Top Gun: Maverick was initially planned to hit cinemas in 2020, which is why it is claimed that the movie was completed before January 24, 2020; the Covid pandemic delayed the film’s release until May 2022. It became the biggest movie of the year, breaking records and ending its cinematic run at a staggering $1.5 billion box office. Now, Paramount will have to respond to the complaint against them, which includes requesting a substantial financial payout to be made to the two claimants.
The possibility of more Top Gun movies has been spoken about at Paramount, but it is clear that the studio will want to be able to get out from under this case before any talks for a further expansion of the franchise can be truly considered. With Paramount now having until November 28 to respond to the claims against them, they do not have long to decide what action they will be taking to try and settle this one way or the other swiftly.