Paramount is being sued over Top Gun Maverick by family of original author of “Top Guns” article

Paramount Pictures is being sued over Top Gun: Maverick by the family of Ehud Yonay, who wrote the 1983 article “Top Guns” that inspired the original movie. 

Per Deadline (opens in new tab), Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay (Ehud Yonay’s widow and son) claim that the film has infringed their copyright, as the rights to the article returned to them in January 2020. Maverick finally released in May 2022 after a series of delays. 

“On January 24, 2020, the copyright to the Story thus reverted to the Yonays under the Copyright Act, but Paramount deliberately ignored this, thumbing its nose at the statute,” the suit alleges (read the full document (opens in new tab) through the link). “This case arises out of Paramount’s conscious failure to re-acquire the requisite film and ancillary rights to the Yonays’ copyrighted Story prior to the completion and release of their derivative 2022 Sequel.”

The Yonays are seeking monetary damages as well as an injunction that would put a stop to screenings and distribution of the film, plus any potential additions to the franchise. The film has been out in theaters since May 27. 

But, Paramount told the family that the film was “sufficiently completed” by the January 2020 date, which the suit says was “a disingenuous attempt to bootstrap the 2022 Sequel into the ‘prior derivative works’ exception to termination.” The film’s original release date was July 2019, before a non-Covid related delay pushed it to June 2020, then the pandemic ultimately meant the film didn’t release until 2022. 

“These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” a Paramount spokesperson has said. 

Shortly into its release, Maverick has already become Tom Cruise’s highest grossing film at the box office, and the sequel has broken a box office record

The film is in theaters now. Check out our guide to all of 2022’s upcoming major movie release dates for everything else the year has in store for us.

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