The Original ‘GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra’ Writers Are Suing Paramount For $23 Million

I won’t pretend like GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra was the best movie that we’ve ever seen. I won’t even pretend like it was a good movie. But it was what it was – a movie about a cartoon about toys. So when you’re working with that goofy of a concept, you don’t necessarily expect the film’s writers to submit a screenplay for a modern day Citizen Kane, but David Elliot and Paul Lovett still did their jobs, along with co-writer Stuart Beattie, and $300 million later, Rise of Cobra was sort of a success*.

And in this day and age, a “sort of” success is typically good enough for a sequel, so naturally GI Joe: Retaliation was a go. But instead of Marlon Wayans and Dennis Quaid, Retaliation teamed The Rock and Bruce Willis with Channing Tatum (for a few minutes) and instead of Elliot, Lovett and Beattie, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were recruited. The result is $355 million and counting at the global box office.

Oh, and a huge lawsuit from Elliot and Lovett, who are accusing Paramount, MGM, Hasbro and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura of stealing their ideas.

According to a complaint filed in California federal court late last week and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Elliot and Lovett had a contractual “first opportunity” to write the first sequel to the Joe Cobra movie if they were the sole writers. But they weren’t. Stuart Beattie was also given a co-screenwriting credit.

Nevertheless, the two writers say that shortly after the premiere of the 2009 film, the defendant film companies asked them to present plotlines, themes, characters and more for a potential sequel “with the stated intent that the PDH Defendants would hire Plaintiffs to write the screenplay if they liked Plaintiffs’ proposed Sequel.” (via THR)

Now I’m no fancy, big city slicker lawyer type with one of them there law degrees and a suit with pinstripes and pants, but I have to think that the big production companies, the giant toy company and the guy who has been producing blockbusters for a thousand years might have good lawyers. So best of luck to Elliot and Lovett on this one. But win or lose, they still should have included this in Retaliation:

*It only earned $150 million in America on a $175 million budget, but that can be blamed on the failure to properly market Channing Tatum.