When a movie like "Avatar" brings home about 2.8 billion in global receipts, it's no wonder when people start crawling out of the woodwork to get a piece of that spicy meat-a-ball.
Thus is the case with Mark Ryder, a former employee of James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment who claims the "Titanic" filmmaker sank his dreams of success. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ryder filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court wherein he sites treatments, photos, 3-D imagery and character elements all created for an abandoned project titled "K.R.Z. 2068."
In the complaint Ryder alleges that "K.R.Z." was an "environmentally-themed 3-D epic about a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting," which also included "a corporation spy," "anthropomorphic, organically created beings populating that moon," and the spy revolting with the natives against corporate miners.
Yes, it's true, "K.R.Z." was the first movie project to suggest big corporations were nasty and should be rebelled against. *cough*
Most intriguing of all, the suit acknowledges that Cameron, as is common knowledge, wrote his own "Avatar" treatment before "K.R.Z" back in 1995. It's no secret that he'd been noodling with Jake Sully and his blue Na'vi buddies for years, and had held a passion for 3-D since the "T2" theme park ride in 1996. Despite the copyright claim to his own story, which Iron Jim did not begin pre-production on in earnest until 2006, the suit could still prove damaging if Ryder was indeed working on parallel project under the Lightstorm umbrella.
This is not the first time someone has sued James Cameron, who has experienced several unsubstantiated lawsuits over "Avatar" and going back all the way to sci-fi novelist Harlan Ellison suing successfully for the bragging rights that his writings inspired "The Terminator." Historical antecedents to the idea (i.e. rip-offs) date back to "John Carter of Mars," "Dune," and the story of frickin' Pocahontas.
Why is it always the blockbusters people sue over? How come no one sued Eddie Murphy over the rights to "The Adventures of Pluto Nash?"