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PREMIUM RUSH Lawsuit Maintains Traction As Film Speeds Toward Release
Breach lawsuit a victory for authors of bad novels everywhere.
A breach of contract lawsuit against Sony Pictures over the film Premium Rush will not be dismissed, after a federal judge in California ruled in favor of author Joe Quirk, who claims to have written a novel upon which that film was based. That novel, entitled Ultimate Rush, was published in 1998 and optioned to film by Warner Brothers.
Last month we covered a lawsuit in which a screenwriter sued Sylvester Stallone’s production company for allegedly stealing from a script he had written in the course of producing The Expendables. The presiding judge tossed Webb’s case after Stallone’s lawyers argued that several drafts of The Expendables had been run through the mill before Webb’s script was completed.
There are similarities between the two cases. On a level of pure irony, both cases seem to exist in a realm in which nobody realizes that the concepts for both films have been produced (in the case of The Expendables, ad nauseum) by other studios with completely different casts and crews. What the Premium Rush case has that The Expendables case lacks is a chain of custody. There was no option for the Marcus Webb script that was the basis of The Expendables suit, while there is no disputing that a film option was in existence for Ultimate Rush, and that that option expired ten years ago.
But the Ultimate Rush option was not through Sony, who merely saw the novel as it was being shopped for options back around the time of its original publication, albeit under the Columbia Pictures banner. The significance of the judge’s ruling, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is that Sony cannot duck the case by virtue of the fact that the parties who reviewed the novel are no longer with the studio, or that the studio was called something else, and that the plaintiff need only to establish a “bilateral understanding of payment” between Quirk and, well, pretty much anybody at Columbia who looked at the book, to prevail in the case.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, Premium Rush is currently due out on August 24th.