Luc Besson to pay for plagiarising

Luc Besson’s Lockout project had too many similarities to John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, a court rules…

Given how, er ‘similar’ some movie plotlines tend to be to others, we’re surprised this sort of story doesn’t come up more often. Just take a look, for instance, at how many movies ‘pay tribute’ to something like Death Wish.

Anyway: filmmaker Luc Besson – currently hard at work on Valerian – has now been ordered by a court in Paris to pay John Carpenter the best part of half a million dollars. The reason? Plagiarism. One of Besson’s projects has been ruled to be far too close to one of Carpenter’s.

The two films at the centre of this are Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York, and the fun space-based jaunt Lockout of a few years’ back, that Besson co-wrote and produced.

A French appeals court ruled that Lockout had “massively borrowed key elements” of Carpenter’s film. Besson had contested the case, but in a statement to the Associated Press, his representative said that they were “very surprised by the ruling but the judges have spoken and we will accept their judgment”.

The case was first ruled on last year, with Besson then ordered to pay Carpenter and his team 85,000 euros. By appealing, the damages were significantly increased. Lockout does still remain available.