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‘Gravity’ Author Sues Warner Bros. for Breach of Contract, Seeks Percentage of Film’s Profit

Tess Gerritsen claims that she is owed a ”based upon“ credit and a boatload of money

Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. on Tuesday claiming that the studio based its hit film “Gravity” on her book of the same name, but failed to properly credit her per their agreement.

She is seeking 2.5 percent of the film’s net profit. The suit is filed in the United States Court for the Central District of California.

The studio’s New Line unit and a subsidiary bought the film rights to her novel “Gravity” in 1999 — the year it was published. Therefore, the issue is not the more typical copyright infringement, it’s breach of contract. Gerritsen claims that Warner failed to live up to an initial purchase agreement of her book by releasing the film without a “Based upon” credit, which kept her from cashing in on millions of dollars.

Also read: NAB: ‘Gravity’s’ Emmanuel Lubezki on the New World of Filmmaking – ‘Same Job, Different Tools’

The suit claims that the 1999 sale of the rights to her novel guaranteed her credit — both on screen and in advertising — should a related movie result. It also would have brought a production bonus of $500,000, the aforementioned fee of 2.5 percent of net proceeds — including ticket sales, DVD sales and TV reruns.

“Gravity” has taken in more than $716 million at the box office alone ($274 million domestic, $442 million international). The blockbuster film’s budget was $100 million.

Gerritsen is the author of 24 novels, including the series that Warner’s “Rizzoli & Isles” TV show is based on. You can read Gerritsen’s statement on her website here.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report

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