A legal wrangling over the rights to the Predator franchise could put an end to Disney's proposed reboot, with brothers Jim and John Thomas, who wrote the 1987 action classic Predator, filing a lawsuit against Disney and hoping to recapture the rights to the franchise. Disney meanwhile have filed their own suit against the Thomas brothers with hopes to keep the rights for themselves. Who knew the Predator would end up being so popular? Must be his good looks.
According to the Thomas brothers, Disney's hold on the franchise expires this month, with the writing duo planning to "exploit copyright law's termination provision, which allows authors to cancel transfers after waiting a period of time, typically 35 years for newer works." Based on this time frame, it sounds very likely that studios across the board could be about to lose the franchise rights to a whole host of iconic properties which have stemmed from the 1980s.
Beginning back in 1987, the first Predator stars action legend Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch, who, along with his crew of elite commandos, embarks on a rescue mission to save hostages in guerrilla-held territory in Central America. Gradually, the movie evolves into something else entirely, as Schwarzenegger and his band of misfit mercenaries are slowly hunted down by an unstoppable extra-terrestrial warrior. The franchise has since spawned several sequels, spin-offs, video games and comics, elevating the alien hunter to the level of one of the most recognizable monsters in cinematic history.
It was recently announced that Disney, who obtained the rights through their acquisition of 20th Century Fox, would continue the series with 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg on board to helm the fifth installment. While official plot details have remained under wraps, a solid rumor has claimed that Predator 5 will take the extra-terrestrial hunter to the past. "Predator 5 will be set in the past (finally!) where it will focus around Native Americans before the territories were taken by the American settlers, featuring a First Nations cast," the rumor claimed.
While these details have yet to be confirmed, they do track with some of the other details that have already been released regarding Disney's Predator Reboot. While Dan Trachtenberg will be directing the sequel, Patrick Aison is confirmed to be writing the script, with the pair having been working on a mysterious movie titled Skulls for some time. When reports first emerged about Skulls being developed by Trachtenberg and Aison last year, it was teased as a project that would "follow a Comanche woman who goes against gender norms and traditions to become a warrior," which, of course, sounds a lot like the now rumored plot of Predator 5.
For now, it remains to be seen how these lawsuits shake out. Notably, similar attempts for authors to regain the rights to certain franchises have often failed, particularly where the comic book market is concerned. According to the complaint, the effective termination date for the Thomas' original Predator screenplay is fast approaching (April 17 to be exact), meaning that if Disney does not settle with the brothers, their planned Predator flick will have to be delayed. This comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.