“Avatar” director James Cameron is being sued by a writer who claims he invented the plot for the science fiction blockbuster.
The suit was filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday.
The writer, Eric Ryder, alleges that he had an agreement with James Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, to develop a movie based on the story he entitled "KRZ 2068." In his suit, Ryder says “KRZ 2068” was supposed to be "an environmentally themed 3-D epic about a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting."
He then claims that he worked on the project for two years when Lightstorm Entertainment canned it, saying "no one would be interested in an environmentally themed science fiction feature film."
The suit also claims that Lightstorm began work on "Avatar" shortly after, which Ryder says, "liberally and substantially uses material that fell within the LEI-Ryder agreement."
Ryder's script portrayed a protagonist who is sent to the moon of planet by an Earth-based mining corporation and the project also called for 3-D effects to "infuse the story".
“Avatar” stars a 22nd century man who is sent to Pandora, a habitable moon to expand the mining colony of humans which threatens the existence of the indigenous Na’vi tribe.
Ryder claims that in the agreement made with Lightstorm, material could not be used without his "sharing in the commercial receipts and the writer or producer credits."
He says he was told Cameron wrote "Avatar," and had prepared a "scriptment" for the project years before Ryder and Lightstorm entered into any agreement. Ryder says this is untrue and that his story was sent to executives at Lightstorm. James Cameron was one of them.
Ryder’s claims include breach of implied contract, fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation and other violations. He's seeking unspecified contract damages, tort damages, punitive damages and to be reimbursed with profits "that defendants obtained from their wrongful acts."
Avatar has grossed billions of dollars worldwide; defeating the record of Cameron’s other billion dollar grossing film “Titanic.” Cameron has been criticized for promoting liberal agendas in “Titanic” and “Avatar,” which address class and corporate greed disrupting natural order respectively.