A screenwriter filed a lawsuit against 20th century Fox, claiming the studio stole the plot for their 2011 sci-fi thriller In Time from his 1996 screenplay.
Writer Odysseus Lappas said the production company lifted the plot for the film from a screenplay he presented titled Time Card, which he was offered $80,000 for but turned down because he wanted the chance to direct his work. Fifteen years later, the Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried-helmed success arrived in theaters and grossed $173 million worldwide.
The suit was filed Monday, Oct. 28, in Los Angeles Superior Court against Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, New Regency Productions and Regency Enterprises, according to The Daily Mail.
"Plaintiff is informed, and believes, and on that basis alleges that In Time includes nearly every creative element of the Time Card synopsis as well as many of Plaintiff's ideas discussed during the Conference," it stated.
The film was written and directed by Andrew Niccol, and starred Timberlake, Seyfried, Cillian Murphy and Olivia Wilde. It was set in a future where people stopped aging at 25 and were required to purchase additional time if they wished to continue living. A class warfare ensues as the rich are given the opportunity to live forever while the poor are forced to scrimp and save just to purchase an additional year.
Lappas, who is seeking $4.5 million in damages, claimed his story was also set in a future world with class differences. He said his characters also stopped aging at 25 and had to buy extra time to ensure their survival.
This is the second time a lawsuit has been filed about the film.
Back in 2011, Harlan Ellison took Niccol to court and accused him of ripping off the idea from his 1965 work Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman. Ellison said at the time that it was taken from his own tale about a "dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ellison later dropped the lawsuit voluntarily.
Twentieth Century Fox has not commented on the newest suit.