Disney settles a 35 year copyright claim against the Predator film, clearing the way for the release of the upcoming new movie, Skull.

A necessary bit of ‘the story so far’ here. Writers James and John Thomas, who penned the original Predator film, had been using the US Copyright Act to try and reclaim their work, given that 35 years had lapsed. It’s not the most crystal clear process, but there was a route there to getting the copyright to Predator back, and they filed in court to do just that.

Predator is one of the many franchises that Disney picked up when it bought Fox a few years ago, and in fact the studio has a new film in the series on the way. Had the Thomas brothers been successful in their action, then Disney would have owed them a fair chunk of cash had it wanted to make a new film in the series.

Several other major franchises are going through 35 year copyright cases at the moment, and this one could have been a sizeable indicator as to whether courts would side with creatives or corporations. But as is often the case, it’s all been settled out of court. Details of the resolution are sealed, as you’d expect, but the bottom line is that presumably the Thomas brothers have been recompensed handsomely, Disney can still make new Predator films, and the upcoming movie – Dan Trachtenberg’s Skull – can carry on unimpeded.

More as we hear it. But given the settlement, we’re not expecting further details in a hurry.

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