‘G.I. Joe’ Screenwriters Claim Sequel Lifted Their Ideas

G.I. Joe Writers Claim Sequel Idea

Screenwriters David Elliot and Paul Lovett are seeking more than $23 million in damages in their suit claiming that their ideas for a sequel to “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” were stolen by Paramount, MGM and Di Bonaventura Pictures to make “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

A twist in the writers’ claim for copyright infringement and breach of implied contract is that they were among three scribes who got screenplay credit for “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” but they were not credited for the followup, “Retaliation,” which was released in March. They contend that despite extensive pitch meetings for “Retaliation,” in which they conveyed “unique plotlines, themes, characters, relationships, settings, scenes, sequences, dialogue, mood, pacing and fictional inventions,” the producers and studio hired a different team to pen the screenplay.

SEE ALSO: Paramount Planning ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Sequel

Also named as a defendant in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, is Hasbro Inc.

Elliot and Lovett’s 100-plus page complaint seems written to push back against a defense that their stories are based on a character copyrighted by Hasbro for its long-running toy line, or that they are norms of the action genre that do not fall under copyright protection.

The writers, however, say that “Retaliation” contains elements of their “unique creation” and “personal creativity,” one that was a “comprehensive vision to completely reimagine” the “G.I. Joe” franchise. In fact, they claim that “Rise of the Cobra” departed extensively from their work, even though they were credited, while the sequel is “substantially similar” to their work “in every material way.” They said that they were invited to pitch for the sequel yet were given “very little guidance” on the direction of what it should be.

Their complaint includes their treatment for the sequel.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” has so far grossed almost $120 million at the domestic box office.

A spokesman for Paramount declined comment.

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  1. SydField says:

    It’s good that they kept their complaint to under 120 pages.

  2. Mac says:

    I was there. It went down as told.

  3. spassky says:

    I feel for these guys (if what they’re saying is substantiated) but this happens all the time in other creative fields — just look at the most recent episode of “Mad Men” (I would relate with a personal anecdote from my job, but why); creatives always get screwed and used. It’s the nature of the game. The only way to prevent it is to not play the game (or at least not play it by their rules, which it seems the writers in this case are attempting to do). I’m guessing they will not be successful in this lawsuit, but the conversation is as relevant as ever.

  4. How is it possible that every mention of the original movie title is wrong? I thought this was Variety’s site, not some lame, two-but entertainment knock-off.

  5. I am actually happy to read this web site posts which carries lots of valuable facts, thanks for providing such statistics.

  6. Chris Proctor says:

    Holy shit. The balls on these talentless hacks, to sew for 23 million, for “stolen ideas” from their unimaginably horrible scrip to create a just as unimaginably horrible script. These people are awesome.

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