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Top Gun author's heirs sue Paramount over hit sequel

Paramount Pictures is feeling the need ... to lawyer up. 

As the wildly successful sequel Top Gun: Maverick remains number one at the box office, the studio has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit claiming it doesn't actually own the rights, Puck reports

Released in 1986, the original Top Gun was based on an article called "Top Guns" published in California magazine and written by Ehud Yonay. Yonay died in 2012, but his heirs, Shosh and Yuval Yonay, have brought this lawsuit against the studio. 

According to Puck, they're making use of a provision allowing authors and heirs to reclaim rights after 35 years, and the lawsuit alleges a termination notice shows they did recover the rights to the article in January 2020. 

But the lawsuit claims Paramount "deliberately ignored [the copyright termination], thumbing its nose at the statute" and failed to re-acquire the article rights prior to releasing the sequel this year. Top Gun: Maverick was originally planned for a summer 2019 release but was delayed several times. 

According to Variety, the lawsuit is not only seeking damages but also an injunction to prevent Paramount from continuing to distribute the film, which was already released in the United States on May 27 to a record-breaking opening weekend. In a statement to Reuters, Paramount said "these claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously."