The original "Top Gun" was based on a 1983 article in California magazine. On Monday, the author's estate sued Paramount Pictures, claiming the studio is profiting heavily from the sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick," even though it no longer owns the copyright to the magazine's story.
The article's author, Ehud Yonay, died in 2012. His widow, Shosh Yonay, and son, Yuval Yonay, filed a notice in 2018 claiming copyright to the story, which became effective in 2020.
In the lawsuit, they argue that Paramount distributed "Top Gun: Maverick" without obtaining a new license to use the underlying material. The lawsuit seeks damages, as well as an injunction that would bar Paramount from distributing the film.
“Top Gun: Maverick” is currently the top-grossing film in theaters, with a domestic haul nearing $300 million.
The Yonays are represented by Marc Toberoff, an attorney who is a veteran of copyright termination battles with major studios. He is currently involved in a lawsuit against Marvel challenging the termination notices he filed on behalf of five comic book creators. In that case, each of the authors claims fractional ownership of the copyright in question, so the issue largely comes down to whether they are owed additional compensation, not whether Marvel can be blocked from doing so. don't exploit the characters involved.
Under Section 203 of the Copyright Act, authors have the right to terminate transfers of copyright after a period of 35 years.
“Top Gun: Maverick” went into production in May 2018 and was originally due for release in July 2019. The film was pushed back a year, to June 2020, to allow more time to work on the flight sequences, and was later pushed back. for two additional years due to the pandemic. The lawsuit contends that the film was not completed until May 2021, more than a year after the completion notice went into effect.
Paramount responded with the comment, “These claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.” Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that “Top Gun: Maverick” was originally set for a June 2020 release.