James Cameron Hit with Avatar Lawsuit
Posted 12.12.11 by Chris
When Avatar became the biggest box office success of all time, James Cameron was praised for making a movie based on a new concept — not based on a book, movie, TV show, comic book, toy, or cereal box. But a new lawsuit alleges that Avatar might not be as original as you think.
Cameron is being sued by Eric Ryder who claims the movie is based on his story KRZ 2068. According to the suit, the movie was envisioned as "an environmentally themed 3-D epic about a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting."
Other alleged similarities between Avatar and KRZ 2068 include a protagonist sent to the moon of a distant planet by an Earth-based mining corporation.
Ryder claims Cameron knew about his project long before he began his Avatar script.
Ryder was an employee of Cameron's Lightstorm in 1999. It was during that time he alleges he worked on his story, created story treatments, and 3-D images. Ryder said his story involved "a corporate spy, anthropomorphic, organically created beings populating that moon, and a romance between the spy and one of the beings who eventually goes over to the side of the natives." Sounds a lot like Avatar.
After working on the project for two years, Ryder claims Lightstorm pulled the plug, saying "no one would be interested in an environmentally-themed science fiction feature film."
Ryder is accusing Cameron of breach of implied contract, fraud and deceit, and negligent misrepresentation. He is seeking unspecified damages but given that Avatar is the highest-grossing movie of all time (over $2B worldwide), if he wins this case, they will probably have to write the settlement on one of those blown-up checks they use on game shows.