Legendary science fiction author Harlan Ellison filed a lawsuit against Paramount and the creators of ‘In Time’ back in September claiming that the film’s plot was stolen from one of Ellison’s stories called ‘Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman’.
When we last reported on the lawsuit, it was assumed that Ellison and New Regency Films had come to some sort of agreement since Ellison’s name was listed in the film’s credits. However, this wasn’t the case and the copyright lawsuit continued.
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Ellison’s lawsuit against both New Regency and ‘In Time’ director Andrew Niccol has been officially dropped. There is no word on the reasons behind the change of heart but many are speculating that it had to do with the film’s less than stellar reception. ‘In Time’ was a critical failure, earning only 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. More importantly, the film only brought in $35 million at the US box office, with a total of only $70 million worldwide.
Ellison has a history of suing whenever his ideas are used without his permission. In the past, this has mostly been limited to popular instances where his work was used. He has sued both the classic ‘Star Trek’ television series (Ellison wrote the criticially acclaimed ‘City on the Edge of Forever’ episode) and the ‘Terminator’ franchise, which was allegedly based on a couple of ‘Outer Limits’ episodes that Ellison had written.
With the ‘In Time’ lawsuit dropped, the only thing Ellison is asking for at this point is that the parties involved each pay for their own attorney fees. And, while it hasn’t been stated yet, I would assume that Ellison would want his name removed from the credits in future releases of ‘In Time’.