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G.I. Joe Writers Sue Paramount, Hasbro, MGM and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Looks like the original writers of "David Elliot and Paul Lovett" have filed a lawsuit against Paramount, MGM, Hasbro and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura seeking $23 million for work on "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," which was allegedly taken without credit or compensation.

'G.I. Joe' Writers Sue Paramount, MGM Over 'Stolen' Sequel (Exclusive)

Sound off on the HISSTANK.com forums and let us know what you think about these developments.
 
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Reply To Article DISCUSSION: (Jump To This Thread On The Boards)
DESTRO:
Two of the three writers who worked on the 2009 film seek $23 million for work on "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," which was allegedly taken without credit or compensation.

'G.I. Joe' Writers Sue Paramount, MGM Over 'Stolen' Sequel (Exclusive)

"David Elliot and Paul Lovett, two of the credited screenwriters on the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, have filed a massive lawsuit against Paramount, MGM, Hasbro and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura.

At issue is the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which came out in March and grossed nearly $120 million in domestic box office. According to a complaint filed in California federal court late last week and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Elliot and Lovett had a contractual "first opportunity" to write the first sequel to the Joe Cobra movie if they were the sole writers. But they weren't. Stuart Beattie was also given a co-screenwriting credit.

Nevertheless, the two writers say that shortly after the premiere of the 2009 film, the defendant film companies asked them to present plotlines, themes, characters and more for a potential sequel "with the stated intent that the PDH Defendants would hire Plaintiffs to write the screenplay if they liked Plaintiffs' proposed Sequel." Elliot and Lovett said that they did just that, and now after seeing their work allegedly taken without credit, they are seeking more than $23 million in damages for copyright infringement and breach of implied contract.

"These original inventions, which make Plaintiffs' Proposed Sequel a compelling piece of story-telling, have been stolen by the (defendants) in the hopes of infusing the Joe Retailiation Movie with the blockbuster power of Plaintiffs' Work."

Read the full complaint. The lawsuit says that when Elliot and Lovett saw the results of the 2009 movie, they were "shocked to see how completely the Joe Cobra Movie had departed from" their script. As a result, when it came time to work on the sequel, the writers said they got more granular in their pitch, "presenting not just suggestions for possible storylines and character arcs but a comprehensive vision to completely reimagine the G.I. Joe franchise from the live-action films to the toy line." Included in the enhanced pitch, says the complaint, were an "exhaustive array of documents, verbal presentations, original conceptual art, photo collages, video clips, mock movie posters with suggested subtitles, marketing images and mock marketing trailers."

The writers also say that more than 100 phone calls as well as emails detail the extent of their pitch over a two-month period. On December 3, 2009, Elliot and Lovett say they were notified that the film companies had decided to engage a different writing team. Retaliation is credited to writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

STORY: 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation': How a High-Flying Himalayan Fight Scene Got Made But the plaintiffs see their pitched ideas in the final film. "Even the most cursory review of the Joe Retaliation Movie and the Plaintiffs' Work reveals that they are substantially similar in every material way," says the complaint. "While Plaintiffs make no claims to the elements of the Joe Retailiation Movie that are subject to Hasbro's pre-existing copyrights in the G.I. Joe characters, Plaintiffs take great issue with those elements of the Joe Retailiation Movie that are the expression of Plaintiffs' personal creativity and Plaintiffs' unique creation of Plaintiffs' Proposed Sequel that were not part of the Joe Cobra Movie and that were not scenes a faire of the genre."

The lawsuit goes into detail about how "nearly every aspect of the Joe Retailiation Movie, from the beginning to the end" incorporates their work and includes a side-by-side comparison of the similarities. The writers say it was their idea, among other things, to take the franchise "back to a simpler time, where the focus is less about high-tech wizardry and gadgetry and more about nostalgic, grounded characters." The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Henry Gradstein. The lawsuit seeks at least $20 million in actual damages and at least $3 million in compensatory damages. Paramount declined to comment on the suit.
"
Ash Talon:
Other than their financial stake, I'm not sure why they would want credit for Retaliation.
DESTRO:
If you ask me Hasbro should counter sue both of them claiming irreparable damage to their property.
pig iron grenadier:
Heh
TARGETSIX:
Good point!
diablosandwitch:
stephen sommers has a lot to answer for
Rainbow Viper:
Quote:
Originally Posted by diablosandwitch View Post
stephen sommers has a lot to answer for
Stephen Somers is still credited as a Producer for Retaliation so even he got paid.
Buzzetta:
I cannot believe that someone wants to take credit for the Rise of Cobra.
stillagijoefan:
$23 million. i wonder how they came up with that #. Sounds like wishful thinking. Watch them settle out of court for a few thousand and a 6 pack of moutain dew.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DESTRO View Post
If you ask me Hasbro should counter sue both of them claiming irreparable damage to their property.
Interesting prescedent. Marlon Wayans needs to be next on that list.
diablosandwitch:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Viper View Post
Stephen Somers is still credited as a Producer for Retaliation so even he got paid.
...no kidding!?,now im kinda angry
goukisama:
For what they did on ROC, i wouldn't give the a dime too.
Griff:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESTRO View Post
If you ask me Hasbro should counter sue both of them claiming irreparable damage to their property.
A-f$#king-MEN! haha
GI Joe Eternal:
If I was associated with the creative team behind Rise of Cobra I would probably just keep my head in the sand and not take credit for that pile of poop.
cardensb:
Maybe some of us should sue too. We all said the same things here in the forums - back to the basics, lose the high-tech crap, Silent Interlude, kill Duke...
Ford:
I'm sure they'll end up settling out of court. There's bound to be quite a few similarities simply because Retaliation had some storylines continue on from Rise of Cobra (Zartan as president, CC captured, Duke on the Joe team officially, etc...). Seriously, the scripts weren't the problems. A few better decisions with costume designs and people would think better of the first film.
46 Zone:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardensb View Post
Maybe some of us should sue too. We all said the same things here in the forums - back to the basics, lose the high-tech crap, Silent Interlude, kill Duke...
This idea is awesome!!! A class action suit against Hasbro, and we can use the Tank as our evidence. Our demand:

1. No more releases of Duke, SE, or SS after the ultimate line.

2. Release a ME Whale.

3. Release a ME Dragonfly

4. Release the rest of the figs up to 1990 with their international counterparts.

5. Release a ME FLAGG!!!
Ruin:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESTRO View Post
If you ask me Hasbro should counter sue both of them claiming irreparable damage to their property.
.......

Quote:
Read the full complaint. The lawsuit says that when Elliot and Lovett saw the results of the 2009 movie, they were "shocked to see how completely the Joe Cobra Movie had departed from" their script.
They alledge the Rise of Cobra departed from their script. I'm willing to believe anything but the end result of that terrible movie would have been better.

Anyway, I don't know why we're taking sides in this since we don't know the facts and we don't know the contract. For all we know the plantiffs might be right and if so, had things gone their way both movies (and the toyline) may have ended up better.

thanks for keeping us abreast of these developments, but we just don't know right now...
sg3:
Not the first or the last time movie companies steal writers ideas and change them just enough to avoid copyright infringement. Court will probably rule in Paramont's favor. Then again maybe not.
ndb:
I'm betting it'll just be thrown out. Still, I'd like to see them get counter sued or something for the evil they caused.
cardensb:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 46 Zone View Post
This idea is awesome!!! A class action suit against Hasbro, and we can use the Tank as our evidence. Our demand:

1. No more releases of Duke, SE, or SS after the ultimate line.

2. Release a ME Whale.

3. Release a ME Dragonfly

4. Release the rest of the figs up to 1990 with their international counterparts.

5. Release a ME FLAGG!!!
Oh no, the 13,000 members all get a cut of $23M but on a condition that we can't complain anymore about ROC.
Oh well, easy come easy go.
NSA:
Rainbow Viper:
[
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruin View Post
.......
They alledge the Rise of Cobra departed from their script. I'm willing to believe anything but the end result of that terrible movie would have been better.
Actually, it would have been much much worse. IIRC their original script before the other writers joined were leaked online. I think some scenes ended up either being exactly the same or similar in the final film or existed in the novelization and trailers but cut from the final film (thus proving those were actual leaked scripts). With that said...Bruce Willis would not have been the reason they call themselves Joes. They would have been a Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity.

Anyway...it sounds more like they are saying that since the whole president imposter thing and the existence of the nanomites being present is still carried over from something they wrote they deserve some sort of compensation. It also sounds like they are alleging they took some of the ideas they purposed from a script they submitted. BUT if they took the idea from the same comics Chu, Reese, and Wernick did then I don't really see any reason they could sue. I don't think they will get anything outta this. At best, they might settle outta court and give them maybe a million or so...but upwards of 23 million? I don't think so.
Trizzie D:
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillagijoefan View Post
$23 million. i wonder how they came up with that #. Sounds like wishful thinking. Watch them settle out of court for a few thousand and a 6 pack of moutain dew.



Interesting prescedent. Marlon Wayans needs to be next on that list.
They'll settle out of court for the current FSS wave and the JoeCon exclusives.

I don't care what anyone says, Wayans was the only person that made me laugh in the first movie on purpose. The second film was chock full of fast and furious type buff dude humor.
MonkeyBoyZ:
Not to be on the movie studios side but this sounds like a weak attempt at a money grab. They throw a ton of points up as reason for a suit knowing it will takes months and the judge will toss a certain number of them because all of the IP in the both movies belongs to Hasbro but maybe an small insignificant plot point could slip through. That would force it to trial and since those cost money, Paramount et al will settle. Bad writers get paid.
This is an internationally known IP and really everything from either movie was recycled in some way from the source material of cartoons, comics and such.
ChaplainAsst:
Writers have had a poor history of winning in these cases so Paramount may take it to court just to prove a point. I can think of two cases where the writer had overwhelming evidence that the studios stole their story (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion King) and the studios won. It may be that judges like Disney, but just having a few scenes thrown out there that seemed cool that the studio used doesn't make you a writer. The larger issue will be that the writers were likely compensated for their pitch that was later discarded. At best, they might get their names added to the DVD release, but if they were paid for the pitch that's all they will get.
hahoo3:
Good luck.
VideoViper:
If they can show they did work & were unpaid for such work, then paramount will likely cut them a check for services provided. But it won't be for $23 million.
sn8ke3y3s:
I wonder if this will delay the release of the Blu-Ray/DVD and G.I.Joe 3!
ndb:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Viper View Post
[

Actually, it would have been much much worse. IIRC their original script before the other writers joined were leaked online. I think some scenes ended up either being exactly the same or similar in the final film or existed in the novelization and trailers but cut from the final film (thus proving those were actual leaked scripts). With that said...Bruce Willis would not have been the reason they call themselves Joes. They would have been a Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity.

Anyway...it sounds more like they are saying that since the whole president imposter thing and the existence of the nanomites being present is still carried over from something they wrote they deserve some sort of compensation. It also sounds like they are alleging they took some of the ideas they purposed from a script they submitted. BUT if they took the idea from the same comics Chu, Reese, and Wernick did then I don't really see any reason they could sue. I don't think they will get anything outta this. At best, they might settle outta court and give them maybe a million or so...but upwards of 23 million? I don't think so.
The existence of nanomites, the President imposter, and many other ideas were used in the DDP comics loooong before ROC was planned.
If Hasnro remembers this (And chances are, they don't) they could easily have this thrown out.
VideoViper:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sn8ke3y3s View Post
I wonder if this will delay the release of the Blu-Ray/DVD and G.I.Joe 3!
Not at all. If it did paramount could counter sue for loss revenue.
sithlordsmart:
Lol even people are delaying to sue Retalliation. Shits been out for two years and they just now are saying the scenes we have seen for two years are their's? Come on bullshit money grubbing swines!
crock master:
so these are the guys , that take the blame why the joe movies suck ass so bad?
crock master:
Plaintiffs take great issue with those elements of the Joe Retailiation Movie that are the expression of Plaintiffs' personal creativity .

Damn Larry should get in on this and sue some butts off!
he could take all the money from roc and retaliation.
boff123:
if it is true they should pay up. seems like they have evidence via the emails and such. probably hasbro will settle with them.
SNAKE_EYES1975:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESTRO View Post
If you ask me Hasbro should counter sue both of them claiming irreparable damage to their property.
You know...when you 1st read that..I chuckled a bit.."heh heh yea..."

But then..one could make a DAMN good case to that point.

Let's see...there were really only 2 low points in gijoe history correct?

The 70's super Joe period, and after the neon dayglo 90s...right?

So its safe to say that besides those 2 points in history, gijoe has had a shelf presence..recordable sales...etc.

Then comes ROC... Where has Joe been since? I find it interesting. Although POC came out after ROC...one could argue the greatness of POC was Hasbro in damage control mode making the best figures they have made since the early 80s just to keep the brand alive after what the writers did.

I mean...from my perspective...being a collector and riding this roller coaster all these years...yeah...I'm sorry, but those guys damaged the brand..Hasbro may have thought ROC was a good idea then, but the departure from the story line in RET, proves even they recognise that ROC had a lot wrong with it.
MightyMegs:
Two guys who will never work in Hollywood again...
Superjoe74:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNAKE_EYES1975 View Post

Let's see...there were really only 2 low points in gijoe history correct?

The 70's super Joe period, and after the neon dayglo 90s...right?

So its safe to say that besides those 2 points in history, gijoe has had a shelf presence..recordable sales...etc.
I take issue with that- just because sales were poor for the Super Joe line doesn't mean you have bring it up or rub it in. Lol.
Saboteur:
I don't know who's to blame here. I can't choose a side, because I don't know all of the facts. I do hope justice prevails here, whichever side of the coin it falls on.

I can say this. This is something that this brand does not need right now.
Doomsun:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNAKE_EYES1975 View Post
You know...when you 1st read that..I chuckled a bit.."heh heh yea..."

But then..one could make a DAMN good case to that point.

Let's see...there were really only 2 low points in gijoe history correct?

The 70's super Joe period, and after the neon dayglo 90s...right?

So its safe to say that besides those 2 points in history, gijoe has had a shelf presence..recordable sales...etc.

Then comes ROC... Where has Joe been since? I find it interesting. Although POC came out after ROC...one could argue the greatness of POC was Hasbro in damage control mode making the best figures they have made since the early 80s just to keep the brand alive after what the writers did.

I mean...from my perspective...being a collector and riding this roller coaster all these years...yeah...I'm sorry, but those guys damaged the brand..Hasbro may have thought ROC was a good idea then, but the departure from the story line in RET, proves even they recognise that ROC had a lot wrong with it.
you clearly are not a lawyer.
crock master:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMegs View Post
Two guys who will never work in Hollywood again...
who need work when you have 20 mill?
Stygian:
I predict an out of court settlement and this whole matter quietly and quickly disappearing from the radar. Kind of sad though that with the success of Retaliation these writers are crying "hey, what about us" with their hands out looking for some of Retaliations phat cash. It's actually really sad, especially given how shoddily written the first movie was. Didn't they get enough money from the success of that one? Who cares if they spit-balled a few ideas for a sequel- even if they more than spit-balled it out. This lawsuit makes them seem like adult diaper babies.
Troynos:
Maybe Paramount should have used the script from these guys, was probably better written then Retaliation.

Retaliation was the better movie, but RoC's script (the dialogue, plot) was stronger.
Doomsun:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stygian View Post
I predict an out of court settlement and this whole matter quietly and quickly disappearing from the radar. Kind of sad though that with the success of Retaliation these writers are crying "hey, what about us" with their hands out looking for some of Retaliations phat cash. It's actually really sad, especially given how shoddily written the first movie was. Didn't they get enough money from the success of that one? Who cares if they spit-balled a few ideas for a sequel- even if they more than spit-balled it out. This lawsuit makes them seem like adult diaper babies.
Sorry but you are mistaken. I'm a lawyer, and I have read the complaint, which is evident that you have not. While there are clearly two sides to any story and we do not yet have an answer from the Defendants, the Plaintiffs allege in great factual detail that almost every aspect of Retaliation was written by them. This was not a "spit-balled" effort. They claim over the period of 2 months, 100 phone calls, emails presentations, including what they claim is the written story for Retaliation along with concept art, photos, videos, mock up marketing trailers and movie posters.

It is ignorant to bad mouth the Plaintiffs without first digging into the facts.
Doomsun:
Also if you guys are interested in some really cool behind the scenes stuff with the movie, there are exhibits attached to the complaint that go into a TON of detail about preproduction of the movie. The Plaintiffs copyrighted the material prior to Retaliation being produced. This could be interesting. While tough to make these types of cases, they appear to have legs to stand on.


Edit: Exhibit A, is almost 60 pages of source material for the second movie. I would say that alone is worth a read for Joe fans. The lawsuit doesn't matter at all, but that stuff is very cool insight that we would not get otherwise!
Volunteer Duke:
i just finished reading the claim,did anyone else there version at least plot and storywise (which is outlined starting on page 43 and really going into detail around page 78) of what was supposedly filed sounds pretty close to the retaliation we saw

some of it sounds better, some ahem (ripcord) worse

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sit...s/ESQ/joe1.pdf
skinny:
Quote:
Jinx falls in love with Snake Eyes
what? where? was that scene cut?
Doomsun:
Quote:
Originally Posted by skinny View Post
what? where? was that scene cut?
Not in the actual movie released, but in the documents (plot summary etc) from the Plaintiffs, they had Jinx falling in love with Snake Eyes. SE and SS are fighting and Jinx draws a bow on SE, reveals she and SS are cousins, but cant kill SE because she fell in love.
Troynos:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomsun View Post
Not in the actual movie released, but in the documents (plot summary etc) from the Plaintiffs, they had Jinx falling in love with Snake Eyes. SE and SS are fighting and Jinx draws a bow on SE, reveals she and SS are cousins, but cant kill SE because she fell in love.
Thank god that didn't happen. Wow... that's bad...
Stalker:
This is just how it's done. Hollywood tries to not pay people, who then sue and end up looking like dicks.
nickvree:
Yeah, wow, they have a strong case, holy shit, it's like they took all of the major things from this script and tweaked them some to make the movie.
 

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