It's not breaking news that Gerritsen is making this accusation — she filed a lawsuit last year, which was dismissed by a judge last week as "entirely speculative" — but she has gone public with new details of her story in a blog post that has since gone viral.
"In 1999, I sold the film rights to my book GRAVITY to New Line Productions. The contract stipulates that if a movie is made based on my book, I will receive “based upon” credit, a production bonus, and a percentage of net profits. The book is about a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded aboard the International Space Station after the rest of her crew is killed in a series of accidents. A biological hazard aboard ISS traps her in quarantine, unable to return to earth. While my film was in development, I re-wrote the third act of the film script with scenes of satellite debris destroying ISS and the lone surviving female astronaut adrift in her spacesuit."
Aside from the biological stuff, that sounds very similar to the film directed by Alfonso Cuaron. People did bring up the similarities when the movie came out, but Gerritsen says she brushed it off as possible coincidence, because she didn't know that in the year 2000:
"Alfonso Cuaron was attached to direct my film — a fact I did not know at the time. My project never made it out of development."
Cuaron and his son Jonas Cuaron are credited with co-writing the original screenplay for Gravity, which isn't so "original" according to Gerritsen. And if Cuaron was really attached to Gerritsen's Gravity movie that never got made, that would look pretty suspicious.
The thing is, Gerritsen isn't claiming copyright infringement. The lawsuit was for breach of contract, which assumes the movie was based on her work. She just wants to get paid according to her New Line contract, and since Warner Bros. acquired New Line in 2008, she sued Warner Bros. The judge didn't think her lawyers made the connection in the lawsuit, though.
Gerritsen writes that this is cause for any writer in Hollywood to be alarmed:
"It means that any writer who sold film rights to New Line Productions can have those rights freely exploited by its parent company Warner Bros. — and the original contract you signed with New Line will not be honored. Warner Bros. can make a movie based on your book but you will get no credit, even though your contract called for it."
Her legal team now has 20 days to file a new suit.