Apparently there is such thing as blatantly ripping off another movie and being held accountable for it. The Fifth Element filmmaker Luc Besson took some flack for the 2012 sci-fi film Lockout, which he co-wrote and executive produced (but didn’t direct), when folks started pointing out how similar the film’s plot was to John Carpenter’s 1981 classic Escape from New York. One such person who found the similarities glaring was Carpenter himself, who sued Besson in court, and now the final ruling has come down in Carpenter’s favor.
Per Yahoo, Besson has been ordered to pay $500,000 to Carpenter as a result of being found guilty of plagiarism. Lockout stars Guy Pearce and revolves around a man framed for a crime he didn’t commit, who is offered his freedom in exchange for rescuing the President’s daughter from a space jail overrun by criminals. The basic premise is indeed mighty similar to Escape from New York, and the judges pointed out that the heroes of both films “got into the prison by flying in a glider/space shuttle, had to confront inmates led by a chief with a strange right arm, found hugely important briefcases and meet a former sidekick who then dies.”
Besson, for his part, denied the allegations, and it must be noted that he co-wrote the film alongside directors Stephen S. Leger and James Mather, although Besson is also given a “story by” credit on the picture. But again, the judges found that the similarities between the two movies were impossible to ignore, and thus ruled in Carpenter’s favor.
The filmmaker is currently in post-production on his latest directorial effort, a sci-fi epic called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which drew a rapturous response at Comic-Con 2016 where the first footage was unveiled. The film is slated for release on July 21, 2017.