Fox in hot water over 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'

LOS ANGELES: It is not just India that is battling with lack of respect for intellectual property rights. In the US Rupert Murdoch's Fox has landed in trouble over its adventure film The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen which ran in Indian theatres recently.

Film producer Martin Poll and screenwriter Larry Cohen are seeking damages from the studio to the tune of $100 million. In the suit, the two of them have accused Fox of stealing their ideas of converting the characters from book to screen. Interestingly reports indicate that the film has made just $66 million at the box office till date.

Cohen and Poll have said that they had discussed a similar idea with Fox executives a decade ago. The only difference is that the film was to be called Cast of Characters. They allege that Fox simply repackaged the story and used many of the same characters that had been discussed.

The film stars Sean Connery as the fictional adventurer Allan Quartermain, who leads Victorian literary figures to form a league of 19th-century superheroes recruited by British intelligence to battle an evil madman, known as the Fantom. The film also stars Nasseruddin Shah. As is generally the case Fox has dismissed the suit as being nonsensical as the film is directly based on the cartoon-illustrated novel by comic book creator Alan Moore. The book was published four years ago an AP report informs.

This is not the first time Fox has run afoul as far as film ideas are concerned. Two years ago a jury ordered 20th Century Fox to pay $19 million for stealing a high school teacher's ideas for the Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas comedy Jingle All the Way.

At that time Murray Hill Publications which bought the rights to a play Could This Be Christmas noted that there were 36 points of similarity between the film and the play. The courts decision was seen as being a landmark precedent for independent producers. The play was written by a school teacher and author Brian Webster.

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