Purge, The. Original Idea Or Stolen Creation?
Purge, The. Is Settler’s Day Claims Screenwriter
With The First Purge arriving in cinemas Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 this is an appropriate chance as any to present a flashback on an article we first examined on DecayMag Podcast S5 Ep8.
On July 17, 2014 screenwriter Douglas Jordan-Benel filed a lawsuit against;
• Universal City Studios Inc.
• United Talent Agency, INC
• Blumhouse Productions LLC
• Overlord Productions LLC
• Platinum Dunes Productions
• Why Not Productions, INC.
• Media Rights Capital II, LP
• James Demonaco
The lawsuit states that the above-noted defendants used Jordan-Benel’s screenplay Settler’s Day as the basis for the 2011 film The Purge.
Below is an excerpt from the legal document:
“The plot in both works is also virtually identical… A family must withstand a siege of its fortified home on the one night of the year that killing is legal.”
Corresponding to the claim, there are one of two ways in which Settler’s Day shaped The Purge. The story begins on or around July 2011 where Jordan-Benel submitted his screenplay, Settler’s Day to United Talent Agency, (UTA) agents, David Kramer and Emerson Davis. James DeMonaco is represented by Charlie Ferraro another UTA agent who coincidentally works under Kramer’s administration. Jordan-Benel also expressed that he addressed his script to Platinum Dunes Productions. In doing so Platinum Dunes Productions may have given the script to Universal City Studios.
Jordan-Benel seeks compensation and credit for the use of his script, Settler’s Day for the basis of The Purge.
The lawsuit almost got dismissed but in 2015 Jordan-Benel proved his argument of requiring compensation if his script, Settler’s Day become adopted into a feature film. The judge penned the accompanying commentary regarding this situation:
“Plaintiff adequately alleges that there was discussion prior to his providing the Script to Davis and Kramer, and that this led to an understanding by both parties that the presentation of the Script was conditioned on payment should it be used at a later point….”
In 2017 Blumhouse Productions and James DeMonaco tried to place a stop on the lawsuit but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said otherwise. Details on this development can be accessed here.
No further information is available on this case. This is a behind the scenes and lesser-known highlight behind The Purge franchise. The situation serves as a word of attention to screenwriters submitting their works to Hollywood. Always enter your product with the screenwriters guild and copyrighting it with the Library of Congress, the latter possesses more weight in lawsuits and arbitration cases.
The Purge Franchise earned big box office draws and the figures are as follows;
• Domestic Gross
The Purge $64,473,115
The Purge: Anarchy $71,962,800
The Purge: Election Year $79,213,375
• Worldwide Gross
The Purge $89,328,627
The Purge: Anarchy $111,928,365
The Purge: Election Year $118,587,880