Many original screenwriter(s) are beginning to enter a process via copyright law’s termination provision which allows them to reclaim the rights to the films they had written. One notable example is Friday the 13th, which is still in the midst of ongoing lawsuits to see whether or not original screenwriter Victor Miller will be allowed to reacquire the rights to the original film. But now it seems that the 1987 sci-fi/action film Predator is next on the list. In fact, original screenwriters Jim and John Thomas have entered a lawsuit over Predator with Disney.
As revealed via THR:
“Jim and John Thomas, the brothers who wrote the 1987 action film, have filed a lawsuit seeking confirmation of successfully recapturing rights to the franchise. In California federal court, the two say that Disney — which now owns 20th Century Fox — is standing in the way.”
“The Thomas brothers are seeking to exploit copyright law’s termination provision, which allows authors to cancel transfers after waiting a period of time, typically 35 years for newer works.
“According to the complaint, the effective termination date for their screenplay (originally titled “Hunters”) is April 17, this Saturday.
“Jim and John Thomas say they served a termination notice all the way back in 2016 — and for four-and-a-half years heard no objection.”
This is definitely a tricky situation, considering Disney was recently taking advantage of their acquisition of the Predator franchise. This not only included a new series of comics, which have since been delayed, but also an upcoming new film. While not much is known about that particular new entry, it’s been in pre-production under the title Skulls with plans for Dan Trachtenberg to direct. Of course, with a lawsuit over the Predator series now going on, it’s unclear just what will happen to Disney’s plans for the franchise.
Hopefully this gets settled in a fair and civil way. After seeing what’s become of the Friday the 13th franchise, certainly no Predator fan wants to see this one end up the same way. Perhaps it stands to reason that simply some kind of deal can be made between Jim and John Thomas and Disney which would allow them to continue the production and release of Skulls. Of course, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens on that front. As such, stay tuned to ScreenGeek for updates on the situation as we have them.