Tess Gerritsen wrote a book titled Gravity about a female astronaut stranded in space when the rest of her crewmates are killed. Alfonso Cuaron wrote and directed a movie titled Gravity about a female astronaut stranded in space when the rest of her crewmates are killed. Uh-oh.
Gerritsen is now suing Warner Bros. for copyright infringement of her book, which was published in 1999. WB's New Line division did actually option her book that same year, but according to the author gave up in 2002. Cut ahead to 2013, when the movie Gravity is released in theaters and makes over $700 million.
This isn't exactly a slam-dunk case, though, since Gerritsen herself had previously denied the movie had anything to do with her book. From the New York Times:
Her lawyer, Glen L. Kulik, said in an interview that she initially dismissed similarities between her book and the film — they were instantly raised online by her fans when the movie was released — as "one of those strange coincidences, however improbable." At a public appearance in October, Ms. Gerritsen told an inquisitive fan, "The movie is not based on my book, despite the similarities."
Obviously, now she thinks otherwise.
But Mr. Kulik said that Ms. Gerritsen in recent months was given information — he would not be specific — that caused her to believe that Alfonso Cuarón, who also directed "Gravity," winning an Oscar, based his screenplay on her book. "We've since come up with some other ties through a little investigation," Mr. Kulik said, emphasizing that Ms. Gerritsen first made efforts to resolve the dispute privately.