Warner Bros has prevailed in a lawsuit claiming it stole the idea for The Matrix trilogy. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner today granted summary judgment to defendants WB, Andy and Lana Wachowski and Joel Silver, ruling that Thomas Althouse’s The Immortals screenplay was not similar in “plot, characters, theme, dialogue, mood, setting, pace, or sequence”, according to the ruling (read it here). “In The Immortals, Hitler and the Nazis are cryogenically frozen and then reanimated at a time when their cohorts have successfully created an immortality drug. The protagonist, Jim, must fight the now-immortal Nazis who seek to oppress and destroy all ‘Short-lifers.’ In contrast, in The Matrix Trilogy, machines harvest humans’ energy while trapping their minds in a virtual reality known as the “matrix.” The protagonist, Neo, seeks to free humans from enslavement by the machines and protect a group of rebels who live freely in the real world. The basic premises of The Matrix Trilogy and The Immortals are so different that it would be unreasonable to find their plots substantially similar”, Klausner wrote.
Warner Bros contends that the Wachowskis began working on The Matrix trilogy in 1992 and completed a first draft of scripts for all three films by 1993. Althouse claims he submitted his Immortals script to the studio in 1993. He filed suit in January. A Warner Bros spokesman said the studio had no comment on the court ruling.