Sylvester Stallone Wins ‘Expendables’ Copyright Infringement Case
Sylvester Stallone did not steal the plot for The Expendables from another screenwriter, a federal judge has ruled.
Marcus Webb claimed the Stallone screenplay for The Expendables was plagiarized from his own work called The Cordoba Caper which was also about a group of American mercenaries on a Latin-American rescue mission.
In legal papers, Webb apparently claimed that both stories had 20 “striking similarities” according to EOnline. Stallone claimed never saw Webb’s script. According to Movieline, Stallone admitted that he based his draft on a script called Barrow by David Callaham who ultimately received co-writer credit for The Expendables.
One of the similarities was that both screenplays featured a villain named General Garza but the judge noted that “Garza is a common Hispanic surname.”
In fact, US District Judge Jed Rakoff found Webb’s arguments not persuasive at all in his 18-page decision:
” … [T]he Court has carefully examined the entire litany of plaintiff’s proffered ‘striking similarities’ and finds none of them remotely striking or legally sufficient. Any reasonable fact-finder would have to conclude that these are two very different screenplays built on a familiar theme: mercenaries taking on a Latin American dictator.”
The court dismissed the case on summary judgment, meaning that there wasn’t enough evidence in the initial stages to necessitate bringing the dispute before a jury. Jude Rakoff actually made the initial ruling in June, but didn’t release his written opinion until now.
The Expendables has proved to be a profitable movie franchise for Stallone. After the success of the first film, which premiered in August 2010, a sequel followed in August of this year. Production on The Expendables 3 is scheduled to begin next year.