It is not that uncommon to watch a movie and suddenly realize how similar it is to another movie you have seen at one point or another, or even to see a trailer and realize how closely the plot seems to be mimicking another movie in recent memory. For example, one might say ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is just ‘Toy Story’ with animals, but the differences are enough that you do not feel anyone has blatantly ripped off the work of anyone else in the process. However, sometimes it does seem like a blatant copy, which is the case for Luc Besson and his ‘Lockout‘ film, which many noticed had striking similarities to John Carpenter’s film ‘Escape from New York.’ Both featured a wrongfully convicted prisoner approached by the government, and offered freedom in return for rescuing an important character from within a floating prison whose inmates have recently taken over the facility.
And apparently audiences were not the only ones to notice those similarities, though to be fair there were not all that many people who saw the film, as it faired only 32% on Rotten Tomatoes and only earned about $32 million at the box-office. However, it seems that John Carpenter himself did see the film, and saw it as a blatant rip-off of his film from 1981, and proceeded to sue (along with the rights holder for the film, Studio Canal) Luc Besson for plagiarism . And while last fall the court ordered Besson to pay Carpenter $95,000 in damages (a small amount compared to the 2.5 million that Carpenter and Studio Canal were suing for), Besson was still unhappy with the decision and filed an appeal, which was not a smart move. According to Yahoo, the court denied Besson’s appeal and ordered he now pay $500,000 to Carpenter and Studio Canal.
Moral of the story, even though they say there are only so many stories that can be told, you should still be careful about ripping off a cult favorite. What are your opinions on the matter? Share them in the comments section below!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.