A French Court Has Officially Deemed Luc Besson's Lockout a Rip-Off of Escape From New York

Posters for Luc Besson’s Lockout and John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Image: Gamona
Posters for Luc Besson’s Lockout and John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Image: Gamona

A French court has ruled that Luc Besson’s 2012 film Lockout, starring Guy Pierce, was plagiarized from John Carpenter’s 1981 film, Escape From New York. As a result, Besson will have to pay Carpenter almost a half-million dollars.


The AFP reported on the decision, which was made in Paris this Friday. Besson had long denied that Lockout, which is about a convict forced to rescue the President’s daughter from an overrun prison in space, had its roots in Carpenter’s film. That film, of course, is about a convict who has to rescue the President from an overrun prison that so happens to be New York City.

Last year, Besson lost the first ruling on this decision and quickly appealed. On appeal, however, things went from bad to worse and the damages went up more than five times, from 85,000 Euros to 450,000 Euros. (Carpenter originally wanted more than two million Euros.)

According to the AFP, the court’s decision came with a statement that mentioned several undeniable connections. “The heroes of both ‘got into the prison by flying in a glider/space shuttle, had to confront inmates led by a chief with a strange right arm, found hugely important briefcases and met a former sidekick who then dies. And at the end (of both films the heroes) keep secret documents recovered during their mission.’”

The court had several other examples much more specific than the usual arguments fans and filmmakers make about similarities between films.

[AFP via Indiewire]

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo


Angrier Geek

The other difference being Escape from New York was good, while Lock Out wasted a great, great performance by Guy Pearce as a hardboiled, wise-cracking tough-as-nails CIA agent. Seriously. Just borderline competency should have made the film worth watching and they couldn’t even manage that. Sigh. Pay the man.