Predator creators Jim and John Thomas are suing Disney for creative control

Dan Seddon
·2-min read
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Predator creators Jim and John Thomas have filed a lawsuit against Disney.

The original movie, which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger facing off against an extraterrestrial hunter in the jungle, was released back in 1987 and spawned three sequels as well as two spin-offs.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the brothers are seeking confirmation of successfully recapturing the rights to the franchise.

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Related: The complete Predator timeline explained

They're looking to exploit copyright law's termination provision, which means authors could cancel transfers after waiting a period of time – usually around the 35-year mark for newer works.

A Predator reboot is said to be on the cards at Disney, with 10 Cloverfield Lane's Dan Trachtenberg directing, but this plan could be compromised by the Thomas siblings' suit.

The termination date for their original screenplay is this Saturday (April 17), says the complaint, while the notice was allegedly served five years ago without any objection.

"Then, in early January 2021, Defendants' counsel unexpectedly contacted Plaintiffs' counsel, contesting the Termination Notice as supposedly untimely, based on a theory that the 1986 Grant of the Screenplay underlying their Predator films allegedly qualified for the special, delayed termination time 'window'... intended for 'book publication' grants," reads a passage from their complaint.

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Related: Why The Predator cut an entire plotline, according to director Shane Black

In a matter of hours, Disney's 20th Century division fired back with its own lawsuit.

"While federal statutory copyright law endows certain grantors, like defendants [the Thomas brothers], with copyright termination rights, such rights may only be exercised in accordance with the statute's requirements, including provisions delineating when termination notices may be served and when the termination of rights becomes effective," states its responding complaint.

"Defendants' notices fail to comply with these statutory requirements and are invalid as a matter of law."

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