Paramount files lawsuit over ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
- Ehud Yonay’s family says Paramount’s rights to Top Gun stories end in 2020, 35 years after they bought rights to original film
- The original 1986 Top Gun film was adapted from a 1983 essay by Yonay who died in 2012
- Yonay’s family said the studio ignored their notice to take back the rights to the story and released the film without involving them
- The new film, which opened in May, made a staggering $291 million in North America and $548.6 million globally, and Yonays is seeking damages
The article inspired the family of the author of the original 1986 “Top Gun” film to sue Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement of this year’s blockbuster sequel, “Top Gun: The Maverick.”
The family of Ehud Yonay, who died in 2012, claim that Paramount failed to regain the rights to the late author’s original 1983 article “Top Gun” before publishing what this year’s complaint called a “derivative”. “The content of the sequel.
Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, who live in Israel and are Ehud’s widow and son, said Paramount “sniffed” at federal copyright law by knowingly ignoring the fact that the copyright was returned to them in January 2020.
The complaint comes from the soaring box office of Top Gun: Mavericks, which grossed more than $5 billion in its first 10 days.
Yonay’s family said Paramount’s rights to the Top Gun stories expired in 2020, but the studio will release a sequel using elements of the original story in 2022 anyway (pictured above)
The cover of the 1983 article Top Guns, by Ehud Yonay, inspired the 1986 Top Gun movie
Top Gun is Tom Cruise’s beloved and bumpy 1986 film about elite flight-school Navy fighter pilots, based on a 1983 California Magazine article about Navy fighter pilots at the San Diego base article.
Paramount purchased the exclusive rights to the story, which ran for 35 years, and the Yonays said it ended in 2020. The family began reclaiming the rights to the original story in 2018, sending Paramount a notice of their intent, which went into effect in January 2020, the lawsuit said.
Top Gun: Maverick was originally scheduled to release in June 2020, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some reports said the film finished production in 2019, while the lawsuit says it won’t be finished until May 2021, more than a year after the studio’s rights ended.
The new Top Gun movie was blatantly derived from the original article, and Paramount ignored the transfer of rights, Yonays said.
Tom Cruise in the original 1986 Top Gun movie. He reprises his role in the 2022 sequel, dubbed a “derivative” by the family of the man who created the original inspiration for the film
“On January 24, 2020, under the Copyright Act, the copyright to the story reverted to Yonays as a result, but Paramount deliberately ignored this and scoffed at the statute,” the lawsuit reads.
The new film hits theaters on May 27, 2022, and has made a staggering $291 million in North America and $548.6 million globally. Yonays is seeking damages and a ban on the studio’s release of the film.
“These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves,” Paramount told Reuters type.
Marc Toberoff is representing Yonays, a lawyer in copyright battles between authors of studios, blockbusters and adaptations.
He is currently representing the families of five authors who have filed copyright terminations with Marvel, hoping to share in the profits from the characters their families created.
A page from Yonays’ lawsuit against Paramount Pictures.It details how the Yonays took back their rights to Top Gun in 2020, but Paramount made a sequel anyway