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Movies That Got Sued – World news

Movies That Got Sued – World news

The mayor of Batman tried to sue The Dark Knight.

Making a film ain’t no walk in the park, and even after its release, you could be battling lawsuits for DECADES to come. While big Hollywood usually squash the little guy, sometimes they’re forced to settle.

Here are 17 huge films that got into tricky lawsuits.



20th Century Fox

James Cameron’s epic is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and someone attempted to get a piece of those earnings by alleging that Cameron ripped them off. 

An artist named William Roger Dean claimed that 14 of his paintings had been the basis of Pandora and some of its creatures – and sought damages from Cameron and the production company. Cameron won the lawsuit, however, with the judge saying the artist had made shots from the film look more like his paintings than they actually did. 


The Laundromat


The Spielberg-directed movie depicted the offshore tax-manoeuvring exposed in the Panama Papers. The lawsuit came from the actual firm that the movie was about – Mossack Fonseca. Not only did they attempt to halt the movie’s release but they also sued for defamation after the film came out.

Netflix however came out on top on both occasions with a judge concluding that the film doesn’t defame Mossack Fonseca. 



Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In 2015 Disney failed on two occasions to get a lawsuit thrown out after Kelly Wilson made the case that the trailer for Frozen was substantially similar to her short animated film called The Snowman.

The federal judge refused to throw the case out, but the two parties settled before it was taken to court.

It wouldn’t stop there for Disney and Frozen, however, when in 2017 a singer sued them for copyright infringements in one of their songs. Luckily for Disney, the singer ended up letting it go in the end. 


The Wolf of Wall Street

Paramount Pictures

The financial backers of The Wolf of Wall Street were actually sued by the real wolf himself, Jordan Belfort, for $300m. This was In reaction to Red Granite – the film’s backers –getting arrested on embezzling charges. Belfort decided to sue the company, claiming they’d lied to him so he would sell them the rights to his story. 

The company’s law firm threw some shade back at Jordan in its response, saying it was ironic that Belfort was trying to get out of an agreement that “for the first time in his life” was through lawful and legitimate means. 


The Dark Knight

Warner Bros. Pictures

In a remarkable story, the mayor of Batman (a small town in south-eastern Turkey) attempted to sue Christopher Nolan on the grounds that the movie The Dark Knight “purloined” the name Batman without checking or getting permission first. 

The mayor referred to the disturbing and morbid events that took place in his town and linked them to the Batman movie The Dark Knight. You can read about these claims here.


Straight Outta Compton

Universal Pictures

N.W.A manager Jerry Heller sued Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Universal, and the Eazy-E estate for $110 million back in 2015. He alleged that the movie had used his name and likeness without permission and had portrayed him badly. 

He also claimed that certain parts of the storyline were taken from his memoir without permission. A year after filing the suit, Heller died, and in 2018 a judge dismissed the case.


Back to the Future II

Universal Pictures

Crispin Glover (George McFly) sued Universal Pictures in what turned out to be a fairly important case. Having refused to be in the second film, the filmmakers used prosthetics and an old face mould of Glover to make a new actor Jeffrey Weissman, look like him. 

A deal was eventually made for a reported $760,000, and the case has often been referenced in disputes over animated/holographic depictions of real people since.


The Hangover Part II

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. was forced to settle a copyright case filed against them after they used the same design as Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, a design owned by artist S. Victor Whitmill, on Ed Helm’s face during the film. The tattoo artist who had filed the copyright for the design brought Warner bros. to court, but the case was eventually settled between the two parties. 


Black Swan

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Two interns endured a five-year battle with Fox, claiming they’d made unpaid interns do non-educational work on the set of Black Swan. They eventually forced Fox to settle and pay out in what proved to be a landmark case. 

The interns themselves were paid for their time working on set, as were other interns who were in the same boat. This case also seemingly changed the practice of paying interns in Hollywood media companies. 


American Hustle

Sony Pictures Releasing

This court case stemmed from a scene where Jennifer Lawrence’s character is defending the idea that microwaves take the nutrition out of food and says “It’s not bullshit. I read it in an article. Look, by Paul Brodeur.”

Needless to say, Brodeur wasn’t happy about his name being associated with scare-mongering and claimed it had damaged his reputation, suing for $1m. The appeals court eventually threw it out, however, saying: “We doubt any audience member would perceive any of Rosalyn’s [Jennifer Lawrence’s] dialogue as assertions of objective fact.”



20th Century Fox

This film is perhaps one of the most sued of all time, unsurprisingly. Kathie Martin, the etiquette teacher, claimed she had been tricked into being part of a “childish prank” – I guess the whole defecating in a bag at the dinner party got to her. This argument, however, wasn’t enough to win her lawsuit. 

Likewise, the two fraternity boys who were filmed making drunken racist remarks weren’t able to defend their defamation case, and they lost their lawsuits too. 



United Artists

Sylvester Stallone spent years avoiding compensating the real Rocky, Chuck Wepner, on who he based the hugely successful character off. After years of seemingly empty promises, Wepner filed a lawsuit against Stallone, and their lawyers eventually settled out of court in 2006. 


The Cabin in the Woods

Photo Credit: Diyah Pera / Photos by Alan Markfield / Lionsgate

The comedic horror film that follows a bunch of students going to, you guessed it, a cabin in the woods was the subject of a $10m lawsuit filed by a novelist who claimed the story had been directly taken from his book.

Peter Gallagher claimed that his self-published book The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines was the basis for the film. While it does follow a group of students who go out into the woods and get murdered, a judge ruled that it didn’t meet the requirements to be classed as copyright infringement. 


Happy Death Day

Universal Pictures

The slasher movie had a bit of a nightmare when the artist Jonathan Bertuccelli filed a lawsuit because of the film’s masked character. Jonathan’s claim was that the similarities between King Cake Baby – his mascot for the NBA Pelicans – and the film’s character were uncanny.

The similarity of the mask forced Universal to settle with Jonathan to avoid a scary time in court. 


Die Hard With a Vengence

Warner Bros. Pictures / 20th Century Fox

This legal dispute stems from Lawrence Fishburne NOT being cast as Zeus. Lawrence was in the frame for the role, and negotiations were ongoing when Die Hard producer LaAndy Vajna went to Cannes Film Festival. There he met Samuel L. Jackson, who he’d seen in Pulp Fiction with Die Hard star Bruce Willis. 

Vanja gave Jackson the role, which led to Fishburne suing the production company for damages, claiming they had a verbal agreement. The case was settled before it got to court with the company paying out $750,000 to Lawrence! 


Natural Born Killers

Warner Bros.

This morbid case was another long-running one. When 18-year-old Sarah Edmondson and Ben Darras were on trial for killing a shop assistant during a robbery in 1995 they cited the film – which follows two murderous criminals – in their statements. The pair said they had “watched the film multiple times before committing their crimes.” 

A relative of the victim took the film’s producers to court and argued that the film had intended to cite violence, but after years, the case was eventually thrown out. 


Matrix Resurrections

Warner Bros. Pictures

This is a bizarre case of a production company of the film actually suing the same film’s distributors. Village Roadshow, who worked on producing the film, filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. They argued that Warner Bros.’ “abysmal” release of Matrix Resurrections (which came out in cinemas and on HBO Max simultaneously) was the reason for the poor box-office numbers. 

Know of any other blockbuster lawsuits? Let us know in the comments below!

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