The copyright lawsuit between the screenwriters of the 1987 film Predator and disneyit is 20th century workshops has ended. Brothers John and Jim Thomas and Disney have agreed to a confidential settlement to drop the script rights lawsuit.
“All parties have voluntarily denied their claims following an amicable resolution of the issues in dispute,” said Marc Toberoff, who represents the brothers. However, the details of this agreement remain secret.
The script for the film directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger Predator was written by the Thomas brothers in 1984 – two years later they would sell the rights to 20th century fox (now 20th Century Studios). In 1987, the film was released. Then, last year, the brothers sued the studio, alleging that it “wrongfully refused their offer to terminate its rights to the script” (via The Hollywood Reporter).
According to US copyright law, authors can recover their ownership rights after a certain number of years, usually 35 years for the most recent works. However, if a script is “made for hire”. the studio is considered the legal author. Just hours after the brothers filed their lawsuit, Disney responded with one of their own, claiming the “copyright termination notice seeks to prematurely revoke its rights.” It was especially timely, given that 20th Century Studios is working on a reboot of the predators franchise, supposedly called skulls.
“This action is necessary because defendants are wrongly attempting to prematurely terminate 20th Century’s rights to the hunter storyline, just as 20th Century is investing a lot of time, money, and effort into developing another installment of its hit Predator franchise,” the lawsuit reads.
Now that the parties have settled, Disney can move forward with its prequel-slash-reboot – titled Skull – which is directed by Dan Trachtenberg.