Friday the 13th kicked open the door and several other major franchises have been in flux thanks to an opening that allows a film’s original screenwriter(s) to obtain the rights to the movie through copyright law’s termination provision.
The latest to enter the fray is that of the original Predator, with The Hollywood Reporter writing, “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.”
As previously noted, “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.”
Disney has been fast-tracking a secret Predator sequel under the shooting title Skulls, which was scheduled to begin production this May/June under the direction of 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Dan Trachtenberg.
It’s unclear how this lawsuit will affect the fifth Predator film, but if you’re curious to read more (here), it looks as if this lawsuit is headed by the same lawyer handling Friday the 13th and Hellraiser.