‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and Paramount Sued by Family Who Inspired Original Film: Report

by Leanne Stahulak

As “Top Gun: Maverick” continues to kill it at the box office, reports have emerged of a lawsuit filed earlier today to sue Paramount Pictures.

According to CNBC, Shosh and Yuval Yonay are suing Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement. They’re the widow and son of Ehud Yonay, whose 1983 article “Top Guns” reportedly inspired the original “Top Gun” film from 1986. The family claims that the studio never “reacquired” the rights to the article for the 2022 sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Back in January 2018, the Yonays notified Paramount that they would reclaim the copyright in January 2020. “Top Gun: Maverick” was supposed to premiere in the summer of 2019, so there should have been no crossover of the rights to the original article.

But production delays caused the film debut to push back to the summer of 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and the film experienced four more delays before finally debuting this past month. Per CNBC, the timeline of when Paramount finished filming “Top Gun: Maverick” will play a huge role in the coming lawsuit. Variety reports that the lawsuit claims filming didn’t wrap until May 2021. By then, the rights had gone back to the Yonays.

The Yonays reportedly seek “unspecified damages” which include profits from the wildly successful sequel. They also want to block paramount from disturbing “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Attorney Marc Toberoff represents the family. He has extensive experience battling studios over copyright termination, per Variety. Toberoff is currently challenging Marvel Studios so that five comic book creators can receive copyright compensation for their work.

At this time, Paramount has not responded to the lawsuit or allegations about “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Lawsuit Comes Amid Wild Box Office Succes for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

“Top Gun: Maverick” is quickly on its way to becoming the biggest movie of the year. Already, it’s earned $295 million domestically and more than $550 million globally.

The Tom Cruise film already broke Memorial Day weekend records by grossing more in those four days than any film previously. It earned nearly $160 million domestically, the biggest debut for Cruise in his acting career.

And its second week in theaters performed surprisingly well too. “Top Gun: Maverick” earned $90 million, representing a scant 29% drop in box office sales between the two weekends. That’s another record it broke, for the lowest drop in sales between the two weekends for a film that’s earned over $100 million.

Now, the film is quickly on its way to becoming the highest-grossing film of Tom Cruise’s career. “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” earned more than $791 million back in 2018. But if “Maverick” continues progressing at this rate, it’ll overtake that milestone easily in the next week or so.