Netflix Faces $5 Million Lawsuit Over Iconic Movie

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Credit: Netflix

The popular streaming service Netflix faces a lawsuit of more than $5 million, according to recent reports and court documents.

In 2012, a dark comedy novel titled Stanley’s Comet by William Collier was self-published. The narrative revolves around a low-level NASA scientist discovering a massive comet on a collision course with Earth. Initially met with skepticism from the government, plans for a nuclear strike are eventually halted for political reasons. Meanwhile, the scientist gains sudden fame, causing a divide among the public on whether to take the threat seriously, with the wealthy making alternative survival plans.

Though many fans may not have read the novel, this plot likely sounds familiar to those who have a Netflix subscription and have spent time watching original movies and television shows on the platform.

Stranger Things netflix screen
Credit: Netflix

Recently, Collier filed a lawsuit in a California federal court against Netflix, Adam McKay, and his production company Hyperobject Industries, reported first by The Hollywood Report. The lawsuit alleges that McKay, who directed and wrote Don’t Look Up (2021), plagiarized Collier’s book, claiming that the two works are “strikingly similar.” Collier points to McKay allegedly receiving a copy of his novel through his manager.

At this time, neither Netflix nor McKay have released statements on the lawsuit, which seeks at least $5 million in damages. The complaint states that Collier’s daughter, Adrienne Metz, previously worked for Jimmy Miller Entertainment, a division of Mosaic Media Group. Metz served as an executive assistant to Michael Aguilar, who was then the president of production at the company. The suit suggests a connection between Miller, McKay’s manager until 2015, and McKay’s alleged access to Collier’s novel.

'Don't Look Up' (2021) on Netflix
Credit: Netflix

In 2007, Collier claims to have sent a copy of his book to Metz, who worked at Jimmy Miller Entertainment. The lawsuit contends that McKay, a Mosaic client, reviewed the novel through Miller, suggesting that customary industry practices consider this as McKay’s receipt of the work. The suit further asserts that the novel may have been transmitted to McKay himself.

To establish copyright infringement, evidence of copying facilitated by access to the work in question is typically required. Collier cites extensive similarities between his novel and Don’t Look Up, including the dark comedy premise, the giant comet threat, and shared themes and characters.

You can see the trailer for the movie here:

Don’t Look Up received four Academy Award nominations and was recognized for the best original screenplay by the Writers Guild of America. The movie had a star-studded ensemble cast, which featured Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Timothée Chalamet, and many others.

Eleven and Will Byers in Stranger Things season 4.
Credit: Netflix

Of course, this isn’t the first lawsuit that Netflix has faced. Just recently, the company ended a copyright lawsuit that involved the hit television series Stranger Things.

Inside the Magic will keep you updated in regards to this lawsuit and the latest happenings surrounding Netflix.

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