On the same day "The Purge: Anarchy" opened in U.S. theaters, a lawsuit was filed in California federal court against the film's director/screenwriter James DeMonaco. The horror movie's 2013 prequel "The Purge" is allegedly a stolen idea from screenwriter Douglas Jordan-Benel's script.
Jordan-Benel claimed in his lawsuit that his screenplay titled "Settler's Day" was submitted to David Kramer and Emereson Davis at UTA in 2011. Davis was said to pass on the script in July 2013, having "a difficult time buying into the premise of 'Settler's Day'." By that time, "The Purge" had been making millions in the box office for a month.
Jordan-Benel noticed similarities in theme, setting, sequence of events, characters and dialogue of his screenplay and "The Purge". The hit movie has "the same core copyrightable expression as Plaintiff's Screenplay in addition to numerous other similarities in the selection and arrangement of coyrightable and non-copyrightable elements."
The lawsuit went on detailing, "The plot in both works is also virtually identical. A family must withstand a siege of its fortified home on the one night of the year that killing is legal." Jordan-Benel had asked UCLA Film School professor Richard Walter to read both scripts and had him as witness. Walter found the two works were "so striking that it is a virtual impossibility that the former ['Settler's Day'] could have been created independently from the latter ['The Purge']."
Jordan-Benel is asking for a minimum of $5 million from the film's profits, credit and a preliminary and permanent injunction. Walter, Universal and DeMonaco have not given any response.