The producers of the 1979 flick PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR filed suit Aug. 8, 2005, in federal court in New York claiming DreamWorks and Warner Bros. THE ISLAND lifted sections of their film, reports VARIETY. Outside of the usual request for unspecified damages and part of the proceeds, the lawsuit demands the court to order the studios to withdraw the film from theaters and bar further release.
PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR, produced by Myrl A. Schreibman and Robert S. Fiveson, who also directed, chronicles the tale of a colony of clones who are told they will one day go to a utopian place called "America," but are actually being prepped to serve as replacement parts for their human counterparts. Later one of the clones escapes into Southern California and is chased as he tries to expose the cover-up.
The suit claims THE ISLAND is similar to CLONUS in 90 areas and that the producers screened the film for DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg when he was exec at Paramount for a possible distribution deal.
DreamWorks said in a statement, "THE ISLAND was independently created and does not infringe anyone's copyrights." Warner Bros. does not comment on pending litigation.
THE ISLAND was made for $120 million, but has only grossed $55 million worldwide. CLONUS (title on DVD) on the other hand was made for $250,000 and has the distinction of appearing on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.
"Somebody had written me asking if THE ISLAND was an official remake," Fiveson said. "I then went to THE ISLAND website and they had a trailer and I thought, 'That looks like a trailer to my movie,' right down to where key moments and shots were the same. Honestly, I really liked it, because this is the way the movie should have been done."
Schreibman, now an adjunct film professor at UCLA's film school, said, "I have one foot in the profession and one foot in academia, and the ethics of filmmaking is something we teach. I'm very passionate about the idea of anyone's creative work being stolen, and this is out-and-out theft."
CLONUS was based on a story idea by Bob Sullivan, who, along with Ron Smith, wrote the script, while Fiveson and Schreiber received adaptation credits.
THE ISLAND began as a spec script from Caspian Tredwell-Owen, which sold in a heated auction in early 2004 for $1 million against $1.5 million. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci did rewrites once Michael Bay was attached as the director.