Paramount & MGM Sued For $23M By ‘G.I. Joe’ Writers Who Claim Sequel Was ‘Stolen’

Two of the screenwriters of the first G.I. Joe movie have filed a multi-million copyright infringement suit against Paramount Pictures, MGM, Hasbro and Di Bonaventura Pictures. In their two-claim complaint (read it here) filed on May 3 in federal court, David Elliot and Paul Lovett are seeking $23 million in damages and claiming much of this year’s G.I Joe: Retaliation sequel was “stolen” from their ideas. With extensive side-by-side comparisons between the pitch the duo were asked to submit to the companies in late 2009 and the actual Retaliation film, the heavily detailed 113-page complaint alleges that the two works are “substantially similar in every material way.” Claiming copyright infringement and breach of implied contract, Elliot and Lovett are seeking a jury trial in the case.

The Principato-Young Entertainment repped duo were the writers of the G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra movie back in 2009 along with Stuart Beattie. Not long after that film came out, they were requested to put together some ideas for a sequel with the understanding that they would get the scribe gig on the movie if their ideas were accepted. Though they put together a detailed plotline and characters descriptions, as well had extensive back and forth with the film’s producers like Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, it was just not meant to be. “On or around December 3, 2009, Defendants notified Plaintiffs that Defendants had decided to engage a different writing team to write the screenplay for the Sequel,” the complaint said. OK but when the movie came out the duo say it was their story on the screen with the sequel. “These original inventions, which make Plaintiffs’ Proposed Sequel a compelling piece of story-telling, have been stolen by the PDH Defendants in the hopes of infusing the Joe Retaliation Movie with the blockbuster power of Plaintiffs’ Work,” their complaint adds. They are not credited at all on the 2013 sequel. Unlike many similar cases of alleged sticky fingers, Elliot and Lovett are established Hollywood screenplay writers. They previously worked with di Bonaventura on 2005’s gritty Four Brothers. The two are currently working on a Midnight Run sequel for Universal with Brett Ratner attached to direct. Pushed back from its original late June 2012 release date to March 28, 2013 so 3D and more Channing Tatum could be added, the Jon Chu-directed film opened with a $132 million global gross. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who wrote 2009’s Zombieland, were credited as the screenwriters on the sequel. Elliot and Lovett are represented by Henry Gradstein, Maryann Marzano and Robert Allen of LA firm Gradstein and Marzano.

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