Since last year, Disney has been embroiled in a legal battle against John and Jim Thomas, the co-writers of the original Predator film that hit theaters in 1987. The brothers filed a suit last April in an attempt to recapture the rights to their script under the termination provision of the U.S. Copyright Act, which lets authors regain ownership of their work after a period of time (usually 35 years). Now, the situation appears to have been resolved. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that the Predator screenwriters have agreed to a “confidential settlement” with Disney’s 20th Century Studios.
The Thomases’ lawyer, Marc Toberoff (of Toberoff & Associates), issued a statement confirming the settlement. However, he declined to go into specifics.
“All of the parties voluntarily dismissed their claims following an amicable resolution of the matters in dispute,” said Toberoff.
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The Thomas brothers wrote Predator (originally titled Hunters) in 1984 and sold it to 20th Century Fox two years later. And because they wrote “on spec,” there was no guarantee that Fox would compensate them. Their suit against Disney alleged that the studio “wrongly denied their bid to terminate its rights to the script.” They also sought a license for new Predator projects, which would have allowed them to “at long last, participate in the financial rewards of their creation.”
After the brothers filed their suit, Disney immediately countersued, claiming the writers were “improperly attempting to prematurely terminate 20th Century’s rights to the Hunters Screenplay, at the very time that 20th Century is investing substantial time, money, and effort in developing another installment in its successful Predator franchise.”
Sometime this year, 20th Century will release its first Predator movie since the studio was acquired by Disney in 2019. The film, titled Prey and directed by Dan Trachtenberg, will premiere exclusively on Hulu.
Are you happy to hear that the lawsuit has been resolved? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1
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