Disney & Predator Screenwriters Settle Copyright Lawsuit Over Franchise

Get ready for another legal-speak heavy story about movie rights folks, but unlike some of the others this one has a somewhat happy ending. Just like Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller and many other movie scribes that penned 1980s classics, the writers for the original Predator movie previously filed a "Notice of Termination" for their script to the 1987 movie. This move was done so the pair could get the rights back to their feature screenplay, and also force the studio to play ball with them should they want to make more films in the series. Also like Miller though this journey has gone into the court system as writers James and John Thomas initially sent their notice of termination to 20th Century Fox prior to The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of the studio, forcing legal action after Disney balked at the last minute.

After Disney absorbed Fox though the pair were forced to file a lawsuit against Disney, alleging that the studio was working to deny them their termination rights; meanwhile Disney counter-sued, alleging that their termination notice was premature. Things have taken a good turn though and Predator fans should be happy. Reuters brings word of this development, reveling that a new filing in Los Angeles federal court today saw the case dismissed entirely by both Fox and the Thomas brothers. A statement from the attorney representing the brothers said that "the parties had come to an 'amicable resolution.'"

The terms of said resolution were not revealed, and likely never will be, but our own speculation would be that this resolution came with a few zeroes on a check.

Disney's Fox subsidiary is already hard at work on a new film in the Predator franchise, one of the reasons they were so keen to countersue the Thomas brothers when they filed their initial suit. Back in November it was officially confirmed by 20th Century Studios that Prey, the next entry in the series, would debut in 2022 on Hulu. Set in the 1700s and focusing on a young Native American warrior that must face the trophy-hunting alien beast, the new film comes from 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg but also stars Native American actress Amber Midthunder (Roswell, New MexicoLongmire). 

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To date the Predator franchise has spawned four mainline feature films and two crossovers with the Aliens series. Countless novels, video games, and comics have also been released, with Marvel previously making plans to publish Predator comics of their own last year (which was seemingly halted by the legal actions noted above).