As “Top Gun: Maverick” makes its name as a massive success, Paramount has found itself in the crosshairs of a massive copyright lawsuit coming from the son and widow of the writer who was the inspiration for the original movie back in 1986.
It was reported by Deadline that, this past Monday, a copyright suit was filed in the state of California on behalf of Yuval Yonay and Shosh Yonay. They are attempting to halt the screenings and the following distribution of the movie and want to be given a still undisclosed amount of financial compensation.
This lawsuit follows up in the wake of yet another record-shattering weekend for “Maverick,” which quite a few experts in the industry seem to think could end up reaching well over $1billion in revenue. The action sequel, starring Tom Cruise, has already managed to earn a staggering $548.6 million across the globe, making it one of the most successful movies of the actor’s entire career.
This lawsuit states that “Top Gun: Maverick” is “derivative” of the original article from Yonay and also claims that Paramount is “thumbing its nose at the statute” that allows for the ending of rights after just 35 years, reported Deadline.
They seem to be making a reference to an article from May of 1983 that was run in a California magazine. Writer Ehud Yonay published “Top Guns” about the pilots and program “located in a second-floor cubby of offices at the east end of Hangar One at Miramar.” Originally, the article was optioned and the first “Top Gun” movie sported Yonay in its credits, claims the publication.
“Despite the 2022 Sequel clearly having derived from the Story, Paramount consciously failed to secure a new license of film and ancillary rights in the copyrighted Story following the Yonays’ recovery of their U.S. copyright on January 24, 2020,” stated the filing.
“The Yonays contend and Paramount denies that the 2022 Sequel does not qualify for the ‘prior derivative works exception’ under 17 U.S.C. because it was not completed until long after January 24, 2020,” stated the suit.
Shosh and Yuval Yonay say that they sent out notices to Paramount back in 2018 telling the studio they want to reclaim the copyright in January of 2020. “Maverick” started its official production in May of 2018.
The Younays has alleged in the suit that “Maverick” did not complete its production efforts until 2021. The release of the movie was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is entirely unclear when it actually finished its filming.
In the same vein, Paramount insists they did not violate any copyrights. “These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” stated a spokesperson for Paramount about the filing.