Disney and Writers of the Original ‘Predator’ Settle Copyright Dispute Over Franchise Rights

Much like Friday the 13th, the Predator franchise has been mired in its own legal battle of late, with Disney having acquired the franchise as part of their 20th Century Fox acquisition but the writers of the original movie suing in an effort to recapture the rights.

As we reported in April 2021, Jim and John Thomas utilized an opening that allows a film’s original screenwriter(s) to obtain the rights to the movie through copyright law’s termination provision, much the same way Victor Miller did with the original Friday the 13th screenplay. What’s particularly interesting about this case is that a new Predator movie has already been shot by Disney, with Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey likely set for release sometime this year. How will the lawsuit impact that film? Thankfully, it seems everything has been worked out.

Reuters reports this week that the copyright dispute between Disney and the Thomas brothers has been dropped, this “according to a Wednesday filing in Los Angeles federal court.”

The website further explains this latest update on the ongoing case, “The dismissal follows a December notice that the parties had settled their claims over James and John Thomas’ attempt to reclaim their share of Disney’s rights in their screenplay.”

This “amicable resolution” means that Disney will have no issues going forward with Predator projects in the future, which certainly gives this year’s Prey the green light for release. We can also expect Marvel’s planned Predator comic books to finally come to life.

As for Friday the 13th, things are a whole lot messier there as Sean Cunningham and Victor Miller have been unable to reach any sort of agreement at this time. Miller has been granted ownership of the original Friday the 13th script that he wrote, but long story short, Miller and Cunningham will have to work together to get anything Friday related off the ground.

Prey is expected to crash land on Hulu sometime in Summer 2022.