Top Gun: Maverick may be a major success so far, but the family of the man who wrote the 1983 article that inspired the original film has something to say about it.
Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay—the widow and son of Ehud Yonay—have hit Paramount Pictures with a complaint filed in California federal court, arguing that the rights to the story were not reacquired before the movie was released. Per ABC News, a cease-and-desist was sent to Paramount back in early May, but the company said the film had been complete since early 2020 and was not derivative of the article. The Yonays claim Top Gun: Maverick was not finished until May 2021, over a year after their rights to the original story expired for Paramount.
A spokesperson for the company says the claims “are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Of course, the original movie was released in 1986, three years after Yonay’s story hit the May 1983 issue of California magazine. The long-developed project was initially set for a July 2019 release, but COVID-19 left it pushed back.
The Top Gun sequel has made over $557 million worldwide since its May release. The flick also netted Tom Cruise his largest opening yet, snagging $151 million in four days and marking the biggest Memorial Day weekend in film since 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which earned $153 million, and the weekend stretch of Cruise’s lengthy career—also shattering the $2 million of the original’s first weekend of availability.
And at this rate there could always be more. Miles Teller, who also stars in the new film, spoke with Screen Rant recently about the possibility of a follow-up focused on his character. “Obviously, everybody was begging Tom to do a sequel right after the first one came out,” he said. “I think this movie puts a nice bow on it; it really kind of wraps it up, but but we’ll see. I’m available.”