It is entirely possible that Predator remains the single greatest “man” movie ever made. Action, horror, violence, guns, zero extraneous sub-plots, no pandering, no virtue signaling. It’s tight, it’s direct. It may actually be perfect.
One decent sequel that has grown in stature over time, and a parade of increasingly terrible sequels and spin-offs, has done nothing to make the original Predator lose its luster. So therefore it should be valuable. Apparently, it is. Enough for Disney to go to war to keep it after they acquired it as part of the 20th Century Fox deal.
The two brother brothers who wrote John McTiernan’s all-time classic, 34 years old now, are Jim and John Thomas. They have filed a lawsuit against Disney.
According to The Hollywood Reporter feel they successfully recaptured the rights to the franchise, but Disney’s 20th Century Studios unit has filed a counter lawsuit and things are getting messy.
US copyright law contains a termination provision. Authors can cancel transfers of rights and IP after waiting a reasonable period of time. In most cases around 35 years is the norm for more recent works.
The effective termination date for their screenplay is today – Saturday, April 17th – as the screenplay was completed and sold in 1986. They served termination notice back in 2016 and received no response of complaint. Then, suddenly in January 2021 Disney’s lawyers suddenly sprung into action and declared the termination notice untimely.
Disney lawyers are pushing that the 1986 Grant of the Screenplay that underpins the concept of Predator qualifies for special, delayed termination time that usually applies to published books.
The Thomas brothers then refiled alternative notices of termination which Disney rejected. So now the brothers are seeking damages while the studio tries to maintain rights to the Predator property, including any planned sequels.
Given what a mess Hollywood has made of such a simply brilliant idea over the years, you can’t help but root for the brothers here.