Author Tess Gerritsen, whose work included a series of crime novels that inspired TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles", is suing Warner Bros. for $10 million. Gerritsen claimed the studio ripped the story from her 1999 novel for Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity".
Gerritsen said in the lawsuit that she sold the film rights to her novel, also titled "Gravity", to Katja Motion Picture Corporation and its parent company, New Line Productions, for $1 million. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 29, did not claim copyright infringement, but breach of contract instead.
She wanted to receive screen credit and a percentage of the profits from the Oscar-winning film. The complaint stated she was entitled to a $500,000 production bonus and 2.5 percent of 100 percent of the net proceeds if the film was made. Cuaron was attached to the project but she was not informed then. To her knowledge, efforts to develop the movie ended in 2012 but "Gravity" was released in 2013, making more than $716 million worldwide.
Gerritsen's novel also features a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded alone on a space station after the rest of the crew is killed in a series of disasters. She claimed she wrote additional material for the film including "scenes of satellite debris colliding with the International Space Station, the destruction of the ISS, and the surviving female medical doctor/astronaut left drifting in her space suit, alone and untethered, seeking the means to return to Earth."
A spokeswoman for Gerritson said that in February, she "received startling new information from a reliable source. She was told that at least one individual who was key to the development of the film 'Gravity' had also been connected to her project while it was in development, and would have been familiar with her novel. Ms. Gerritsen is now convinced the similarities are not merely coincidental."
She is seeking a jury trial to pursue "Based on the book by Tess Gerritsen" credit in addition to the earnings that was stated in her original contract.