Following the success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” Paramount Pictures seems to have found herself in legal trouble as they are being sued by the Yonay family.
The late Ehud Yonay, an Israeli author, was responsible for writing the original story that inspired the “Top Gun” franchise. Yonay wrote a detailed piece in the May 1983 issue of California Magazine about Navy pilots and it formed the premise for the beloved action movie.
Now, with the release and success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” a lawsuit has emerged from the Yonay family accusing the Paramount Pictures studio of copyright infringement.
The Yonay Family Sues Paramount Pictures
According to Deadline, Yonay’s widow and son, Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, recently filed a copyright lawsuit at a California federal court, asking for an injunction to stop the screening and distribution of the second sequel due to copyright infringement.
Shosh and Youval in court documents accuse Paramount pictures of “thumbing its nose at the statute” that terminated the studio’s 35-year right over the original story.
It happened that Paramount Pictures secured exclusive motion picture rights to Ehud’s “Top Guns” article immediately after it was released and used it to create the original 1986 “Top Gun” movie.
Ehud was given credit in the original movie and by 2010 a sequel development was announced. Paramount Pictures still had its rights to the movie until 2018 when the Yonay family filed to recover the rights to the story.
Effective January 2020, Paramount Pictures’ exclusive motion pictures rights were terminated, but it seems the famous studio ignored it as the Yonays claim that the newly-released “Top Gun: Maverick” was a “derivative” of Ehud’s original story and contained key elements.
The Copyright infringement battle between both battles comes down to one thing — timing. According to the Yonays, “Top Gun: Maverick” wasn’t completed until May 2021, meaning Paramount Pictures overstepped and ignored the already reverted rights.
“Paramount engaged in the willful conduct alleged herein, notwithstanding that it is a sophisticated multinational corporation whose core business is based upon the value and enforcement of copyrights and other intellectual property,” the lawsuit states.
Paramount Pictures, on the other hand, is said to have wrapped production on “Top Gun: Maverick” in 2019, making them not guilty of breaking the statute.
The Yonay family is asking for an unspecified amount in damages as well as an injunction to stop the movie from screening. They are represented by Marc Toberoff and Alex Kozinski. Toberoff is notorious for taking on big movie corporations for copyright lawsuits.
He legally battled Warner Bros and Marvel/Disney on behalf of the estates of “Superman” co-creator Joe Shuster and comic book writer Jack Kirby.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Soars At Box Office
Via the publication, reps of Paramount Pictures have responded to the lawsuit calling it baseless. In a statement, the spokesperson said, “These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
With the millions of dollars raked in by the sequel, it is believed the Yonays want a bite of that huge cake. Per reports, “Top Gun: Maverick” has performed well at the Box Office, earning $557.2 million globally in its second week.
The Joseph Kosinski-produced movie earned $295.6 million in North America and $261.6 million internationally, showing no signs of slowing down.
As The Blast reported, during its opening weekend, critics praised the sequel for delivering. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an earned rating of 97% and on IMDb, an 8.7 out of 10.
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David Gonzalez of Reel Talk Inc. gave the film a 4 out of 4, writing, “Top Gun: Maverick took my breath away. An adrenaline rush tailor-made for the summer blockbuster season. It gives cinephiles jaw-dropping aerial combat sequences, and packs an emotional punch that makes Top Gun: Maverick the event of the summer.”
Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood Daily added, “Tops the original in every way imaginable, from an all-knowing performance for the ages from Cruise to its highly emotional storyline, ‘take my breath away’ aerial sequences and just about anything else you want from a studio blockbuster.”
Audiences had a similar opinion of the Tom Cruise-led movie, calling it the “greatest sequel of all time.” Viewers gave it a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and had nothing but positive things to say.
A viewer called P A wrote, “Absolutely nailed it. The twist and turns really took us for a ride, it was great to hear a theatre clapping. Fantastic performance by Miles Teller & Monica Barbaro to carry us across the finish line.”