AUTHOR SUES STUDIO OVER “GRAVITY”

AUTHOR SUES STUDIO OVER GRAVITY

Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen has just filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. claiming the studio partly based “Gravity” on one of her books. As a result, the Studio owes her 2.5 percent of the blockbuster film’s net profit.

Gerritsen, whose 24 novels include the Rizzoli and Isles crime series, is notably not suing Warner for copyright infringement. The studio bought the film rights to her novel “Gravity” in 1999. Instead, Gerritsen’s suit accuses the Studio of breach of contract — failing to live up to an initial purchase agreement of her book by releasing the film without a “based upon” credit, which denied her millions of dollars. Ms. Gerritsen’s book was published in 1999. A Warner spokesman declined to comment. The author stresses she first tried to settle the dispute privately.

Gerritsen’s suit said the 1999 sale of the rights to her novel guaranteed her credit, both on screen and in advertising, should a related movie result; a production bonus of $500,000; and a fee of 2.5 percent of net proceeds, including ticket sales, DVD sales and TV reruns. “Gravity’s” screenplay was credited to Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonas Cuarón. The film has earned more than $716 million at the box office alone.

Aside from sharing a title, Ms. Gerritsen’s novel and the Warner movie are set in orbital space and feature a female astronaut who becomes stranded alone after a series of technical disasters kill the rest of the crew. In a statement, Gerritsen said that, as far as she knew, efforts to develop her novel into a film ended in 2002. But, in recent months, Gerritsen was given information that caused her to believe that Alfonso Cuarón based his screenplay on her book.

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