Warner Bros.(LOS ANGELES) — Author Tess Gerritsen filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday against Warner Bros., claiming that the movie Gravity is based on her novel of the same name. She says she should receive on-screen credit and a percentage of the film’s profits.
Both Gerritsen’s novel and the film are set in space and feature a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded alone after a series of disasters kills the rest of the crew. Both detail the astronaut’s struggle to survive, and both are called Gravity.
The lawsuit claims breach of contract, because she contends there was already a contract in place.
In 1999, Gerritsen says, she sold the motion picture rights to her novel Gravity to Katja Motion Picture Corp., which she calls a shell company for New Line. She says her contract with them called for her to receive a production bonus of $500,000, 2.5% of the “defined net proceeds” from the movie, and an on-screen credit. She says she was paid $1 million in March 1999, a few months before her book was published.
Her lawsuit claims that director Alfonso Cuaron was attached to the screen adaptation, but she did not know that at the time. Then, sometime after 2002, the suit claims, Cuaron and his son, Jonas, wrote a screenplay called Gravity. She claims that Warner Bros., the studio behind Gravity, now owns the feature rights to her book after it took control of New Line and Katja in 2008.
The suit seeks damages of at least $10 million, which would include a percentage of net proceeds from the movie.
Last October, the Greencastle Banner-Graphic in Indiana reported that Gerritsen told an audience at a library event, “Yea, Gravity is a great film, but it’s not based on my book.”
Gravity, which starred Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, won seven Oscars in March, including best director for Cuaron.
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