By Lucas Shaw
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - "G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra" script co-writers David Elliot and Paul Lovett have sued Paramount, Hasbro, MGM and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, seeking $23 million for copyright infringement. In the suit, filed in California federal court May 3, the writers allege that the studios and producers stole many of their ideas for the sequel to "Cobra," "G.I. Joe: Retaliation."
That film, which opened March 28, has grossed $355 million at the worldwide box office. The defendants have engaged Elliot and Lovett to contribute to the sequel, assuring they would get the job if their work was satisfactory. The studios and producers did not hire Elliott or Lovett, but in a 113-page suit, the writers detail all of the ways in which they feel their work was used without any credit.
"Even the most cursory review of the Joe Retaliation Movie and the Plaintiffs' Work reveals that they are substantially similar in every material way," the suit claims.
Elliot and Lovett would have been guaranteed to write the sequel had they been the sole credited writers on the first movie. Stuart Beattie was also credited for his work on that screenplay, and the writers' lawyers note in the suit that the finished "Cobra" film was markedly different from the writers' script.
Yet the defendants still engaged Elliot and Lovett, who included much of the work they did for the studios as evidence of theft. Paramount declined to comment.
(Pamela Chelin contributed to this report)