Melissa McCarthy, along with Warner Bros. and several others, is being sued for $10 million in a breach of contract lawsuit related to the 2018 film Life of the Party. Also named in the lawsuit are the film's director Ben Falcone, the Gersh Agency, and agent Sean Barclay as well as Brett Ratner and RatPac, though it's not clear why Ratner and RatPac are included as neither were producers or identifiably involved with the film.
According to Deadline, the lawsuit was brought by Eva Kowalski who claims that Life of the Party is a rip off of her WGA-registered treatment and script entitled College Mom. The lawsuit states that Kowalski formally pitched College Mom in 2014.
"Plaintiff formally pitched the Concepts to the Gersh Defendants in 2014 and was informed that the Concepts had significant commercial likelihood of success," the suit reads in part. "At this meeting, the script, ideas, story, and treatments referred to herein were discussed and presented to the Gersh Defendants, and details were further discussed at length."
The lawsuit seeks "not less than" $10 million as well as an injunction against the Life of the Party, which was written by McCarthy and Falcone, seeking an order that "Defendants destroy all materials of every nature and kind in their possession, custody or control that are based on Plaintiff's Concepts."
The lawsuit also claims that there was a "secret agreement" among the parties to rip off College Mom.
"The McCarthy Defendants knew that the interference was certain or substantially certain to occur as a result of its actions," it says. "The McCarty Defendants wanted and intended to interfere with the contract between Plaintiff and the Gersh Defendants because they would make more money by trampling on Plaintiff's rights then including her and compensating her."
Released in 2018, Life of the Party stars McCarthy as a mother who, after finding herself alone when her husband divorces her and her daughter goes off to college, makes the decision to herself go back to school and, in the process, ends up bonding with her daughter's friends. The film was widely panned by critics who appreciated its humor and onscreen talent but noted that the script and film's direction were both lacking. The film fared a bit better with audiences and was nominated for a Teen Choice award for Choice Summer Movie and Choice Summer Movie Actress for McCarthy. McCarthy was also nominated for Comedy Movie Star of 2018 at the People's Choice Awards, an award she won. The film brought in $66 million worldwide.