Top Gun: Maverick producer Paramount Pictures sued by family of Ehud Yonay, whose story inspired 1986 Tom Cruise classic

The widow and son of the man who wrote the 1983 article that inspired the original Top Gun are suing Paramount Pictures over its sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

In a complaint filed in California federal court, Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay claim that the rights to Ehud Yonay’s story reverted back to them on January 24, 2020.

The lawsuit contends that Paramount, which produced and distributed the sequel, did not acquire those rights again before releasing the film in May.

A spokesperson for Paramount Pictures said in a statement that the claims “are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously”.

The lawsuit says that Paramount has been on notice since 2018 that the Yonays intended to recover the copyright under a provision that lets artists do so after 35 years.

White man with cropped dark hair and focused expressions wears grey pilot's uniform and stands in front of jet.
The Yonays say that the film is a derivative of the 1983 article and that Top Gun: Maverick didn’t wrap until May 2021, over a year after the rights expired.(Supplied: Paramount)

According to the suit, the Yonays sent a cease-and-desist letter in early May to which Paramount responded that the film had been sufficiently completed by January 24, 2020, and was not derivative of Yonay’s article.

The Yonays counter that the film is a derivative of the 1983 article and that Top Gun: Maverick didn’t wrap until May 2021, over a year after the rights expired.

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