The basic idea of Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, with the have-nots on Earth and the haves in space, seems almost too basic to steal. But screenwriter Steve Wilson Briggs is alleging Blomkamp took way more than that, including characters, scenes and motifs.
Briggs, whose one writing credit is for a movie called The Amazing Mr. Excellent, wrote his version of Elysium, called Butterfly Driver, back in 2005. And he posted it on a screenwriting website in 2007, which is where he alleges Blomkamp had access to it. Butterfly Driver follows "the struggle of a poor man living on a ruined Earth who has only five days to make an illegal and dangerous trip to a wealthy satellite planet for life-saving medicine."
Briggs alleges that “Elysium” infringes on the heart of his “Butterfly Driver” story as well as its plot, characters, unusual settings, themes, conflict, catalyst, crisis, climax-twist, the hero’s unique “character-affiliation,” the hero’s “keepsake necklace” and more.
The Wrap notes that there are indeed a number of similarities between the two stories — but of course, these sorts of claims are common in Hollywood, when it comes to big movies. Elysium has made $272 million to date.