“Best Shooter: Maverick”: Legal Expert Explains How Paramount Will Defend Itself in Copyright Lawsuit


Tom Cruise has never had a movie like “Best Shooter: Maverick.” Financially, it is already different from or will be different from any other Cruise movie. Fans love the movie and the reviews have been positive. However, as Maverick grows rapidly, a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures threatens to stymie it.

The lawsuit alleges that Paramount violated copyright law in the movie “Best Shooter: Maverick.”

Maverick gave Cruz the best opening weekend and secured Paramount box office receipts, but there may be some bad news.

The lawsuit filed in California alleges that Paramount and the filmmakers violated copyright law. Ehud Yonai’s 1983 magazine article “The Best Arrows” served as a source of inspiration for the creation of the original film. His heirs, Shosh and Yuval Yonai, claim to have informed Paramount that they will return the copyrights in January 2020, CNBC reports.

They claim that Paramount and the filmmakers — Cruz, Jerry Bruckheimer and Christopher McQuarrie — three of the 10 producers listed in the credits according to IMDb— did not own the rights when Maverick finished filming. Yonai claim that the filming of the film ended only in 2021, after the rights were returned.

According to ABC legal expert Dan Abrams, if and when the case goes to court, Paramount has several arguments in its defense.

Lawyer Dan Abrams explains how Paramount can Defend itself in a lawsuit

The lawsuit against Top Gun: Maverick and Paramount is still far from court, and there is a chance that the lawsuit can be settled out of court. Nevertheless, Paramount has several strong arguments in its favor, as Abrams noted on the program “Good Morning America”.

“There are many defenses here. First of all, they say that the first film wasn’t actually even a derivative of the present article, we think they will argue. Also, we think they’ll say, “Even if that were the case, the second movie definitely wasn’t a derivative of that original article.” Remember that facts are not copyrighted.

“And another thing they’ll probably claim is that they finished [or] substantially completed the film over a 35-year period. Remember, there were a lot of delays in this movie, and they’re going to say they practically completed the movie before the rights were returned.”

ABC Lawyer Dan Abrams

According to IMDb, Maverick finished filming in 2019. Even with re-shoots, most of what appears on screen could have been filmed when Paramount had the rights.

According to Abrams, Paramount has an advantage in the “Best Shooter: Maverick” lawsuit.

During his appearance on GMA, Abrams noted that property rights are now a huge concern in Hollywood. According to CNBC, the same lawyer representing Yonays also represents the interests of several comic book heirs who are suing Disney over the rights to Marvel.

If the lawsuit against Paramount over Top Gun: Maverick goes to trial, Abrams indicated that Paramount could win because it has so many lines of defense.

“It will always be hard when you act as a plaintiff in such a case. [Paramount] has serious legal firepower behind it,” Abrams said. “It’s not a frivolous argument, but it won’t be easy to win either, particularly because Paramount has so many different arguments they can make, and if they win any of them, they will win the case. They may say, “OK, you don’t accept this argument, you don’t accept this argument, but if you accept the third one, we will still win.”

How much does it cost to make a Maverick and how much it has earned at the moment

According to CNBC, the lawsuit against Paramount is aimed at stopping the distribution of Maverick, stopping any further sequels and demanding monetary compensation.

If the plaintiffs win in court and the judge awards Yonai a percentage of the profits, it could be an unexpected financial success.

According to Box Office Mojo, eleven days after its release in theaters, Maverick earned more than $557.2 million worldwide. This is already a huge income for Paramount, which spent about $170 million on the creation of the film, according to IMDb.

Time will tell what happens with the lawsuit—dropped, settled, or heard in court—but if the case goes to a judge, Paramount has several lines of defense.

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