Another day, another screenwriter claiming to have their idea stolen by a major studio. In this case we are talking about a screenwriter, R. Spencer Balentine, suing Fox claiming that Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on his work and not the series from the Marvel imprint.
Balentine claims that the 2014 hit spy film Kingsman: The Secret Service, is based on a screenplay that he wrote in 2003 titled, The Keepers. He suspects that Marvel got access to his work through a screenwriting contest in 2004 by Dabel Brothers Productions. His project was one of the top ten, meaning that his work was going to be considered for a comic adaptation. Dabel Brothers Productions and Marvel entered a publishing and distributing agreement in 2006. Thus giving the Kingsman screenwriters access to his work.
Here is a piece of the complaint which can be found via The Hollywood Reporter,
“The Film is purported to be based on a comic book series originally entitled The Secret Service, first published in 2012 by Icon Comics (a division of Marvel) and written by Mark Millar,” writes attorney Steven Lowe in the complaint. “However, several key aspects of the Film do not appear in The Secret Service comic that do appear in [Balentine’s] Screenplay; for example, in the comic, there is no reference to Knights of the Round Table, no small dog companion to the protagonist, no use of holograms, and the general theme of the comic is about public service rather than an individual overcoming humble origins to achieve greatness.”
Balentine says that the film’s characters all have striking similarities to his characters. These similarities include things like upbringings, choices of beverages, panic attacks and disdain for humanity. The similarities don’t stop there as he talks about the similar plots. Balentine is seeking damages of at least $5 million. Fox has not responded to the allegations.
With thousands of screenplays out there I have sure there are more than a few that share striking similarities. Whether or not they stole the screenplay is up to the courts to decide.
What do you think? Does he have a case or not?
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter