The Cabin in the Woods– $10 million
Joss Whedon blew everyone away with his horror/spoof film about a group of students who go on vacation and end up fighting a bunch of monsters. Author Peter Gallagher, however, was not impressed. He thought it was a little too close to the plot of his 2006 book, “The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines,” that told the story of five heroes who go to a cabin. There are two female characters named Jules and Dura (the CITW ladies are named Julie and Dana), and they flirt and drink with the rest of the gang before they get attacked by an evil presence. In the end it turns out to be a reality show.
It could be a coincidence, seeing as the students in CITW were actually part of a secret government ritual, but Gallagher sued Whedon, director Drew Goddard, Mutant Enemy Productions and Lionsgate for $10 million. A judge ended up dismissing the case, saying, “While the two works share a similar premise…that premise is unprotectable. The concept of young people venturing off to such locations and being murdered by some evil force is common in horror films.” Funny he should say that… wasn’t that the entire point of Cabin in the Woods?