HOLLYWOOD—Another lawsuit in the brewing. The family of the Israeli writer whose article inspired the 1986 Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun” is suing Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement over its sequel. They claim the studio did not have the rights to Ehud Yonay’s 1983 story “Top Guns” when it released the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” last month. The film has earned $548 million globally in its first 10 days of release.
Paramount Pictures say the claim was “without merit” and vowed to contest it. The sequel sees Cruise reprise his role as US Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell from the original 1986 film. It had the fourth biggest opening weekend of any film in the COVID-era, behind the best-selling “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and second-place sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “The Batman.” The lawsuit was filed on Monday at a Los Angeles federal court by Shosh and Yuval Yonay, Ehud’s widow and son-alleges that Paramount failed to reacquire the rights to Ehud’s magazine article after it was terminated under the US Copyright Act.
According to published reports, in the lawsuit, Paramount’s “Top Gun” franchise would not have existed without Ehud’s “literary efforts and evocative prose and narrative.” The lawsuit said that in 2018, the Yonay family informed Paramount that its rights to Ehud’s article would be terminated two years later. It added that the studio lost the copyright for the piece in January 2020.
“Much as Paramount wants to pretend otherwise, they made a sequel to Top Gun after they lost their copyright,” lawyer Marc Toberoff, who is representing the Yonay’s, told several news outlets. Paramount said in a statement:
“These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Mitra Ahouraian, a Los Angeles -based attorney, said, “Timing is going to be very important in this case because the notice of termination was sent….to have an effective date of 2020.” The sequel sees Maverick return to the Top Gun flying academy as an instructor in charge of training a new generation of pilots. It actually gave Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise his first $100 million opening weekend at the box-office. His previous biggest opening weekend came in 2005 with “War of the Worlds” which raked in $64 million.
The 59-year-old was joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for his new film’s UK premiere recently. Critics praised the return of Top Gun: Maverick earlier this month, calling it a “barrier-breaking sequel.” It’s a thrilling, blockbuster, a true legacy sequel.
One film that has created chaos is “The Lady of Heaven,” due to protests. Cineworld has cancelled all UK screenings of a film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, after it prompted protests outside some cinemas. The cinema chain said in published reports, that it made the decision to cancel to ensure the safety of our staff and customers. More than 120,000 people have signed a petition for the “Lady of Heaven,” to be pulled from the UK cinemas.
The film was pulled from the Cineworld chain after reported protests in Bolton, Birmingham and Sheffield. Criticism mainly centers around the way the Shia Muslim filmmaker and cleric Yasser Al-Habib has portrayed prominent revered figures in early Sunni Islam, implying that there are comparisons between their actions with those of the Islamic State group in Iraq. The movie which was released on June 3, claims to tell the story of Lady Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad. Screenings of the film were still scheduled for Wednesday June 8, at a number of Vue cinemas in London and south-east England.
Rose’s Scoop: The Tribeca Festival is in full force, it will begin on June 8-19. Jennifer Lopez will be there on June 8, for the opening-night film, “Halftime.”