Andy and Lana Wachowski are being sued for allegedly stealing ideas for The Matrix series of films.
The Wachowskis are being sued by Thomas Althouse, who is accusing the directing duo of lifting ideas from his unproduced 1993 script The Immortals for The Matrix franchise. According to TMZ, Althouse didn’t see 1999’s The Matrix or its 2003 sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions until recently in 2010.
Althouse wants $300 million in damages.
According to The Huffington Post, Althouse takes issue with similarities between his script and The Matrix, but it’s the second and third Matrix films that are the subject of the lawsuit. Althouse submitted his script in 1993, exactly one year before the Wachowskis signed with Warner Bros. on the strength of two original scripts: Bound and The Matrix.
Bound was released in 1996, and served as a sort of “audition piece” for a bigger project like The Matrix, according to producer Joel Silver. The Wachowskis had been working in Hollywood as screenwriters, but were untested directors. Bound ended up being a modest success.
Then, The Matrix was released in 1999 to critical acclaim and box office success. Two sequels were fast-tracked, and Warner Bros. had a financial goldmine on their hands with over $1.6 billion grossed at the worldwide box office for all three films.
Ideas Althouse says were lifted from his script include plugs in the back of characters’ necks, robot-like “agents” dressed in suits, and characters trapped in a train station.
Althouse’s lawsuit could run into some trouble in court, just like the many lawsuits leveled against James Cameron’s Avatar.
Avatar has been the unwitting subject of a number of plagiarism lawsuits, most alleging that characters and plot points were lifted from other original screenplays. So far, the lawsuits against Cameron aren’t going so well for the complainants. Judges are ruling in Cameron’s favor, since “concepts” and “plot points” don’t really fall under plagiarism so much as exact characters and pages of dialogue do.
What do you think? From the above, does it sound like Althouse has a case against the Wachowskis?