Plagiarism in the Movie Industry

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Plagiarism can be found in different forms and industries. Recently we have published an article about plagiarism in video games. This time, we have collected the most prominent cases where plagiarism was present in the movie industry.

  • Rear Window (1954) vs. Disturbia (2007)

The US thriller “Disturbia” is a reinterpretation of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 “Rear Window” and therefore not technically considered plagiarism. In the original motion picture, “Rear Window,” James Stewart in the role of L.B. Jeffries is restricted to his home due to a broken leg. Having nothing better to do, he decides to spy on his neighbors with his camera since it is hot and most of them have their windows open. Soon after, a woman suddenly disappears and Jeffries suspects her husband of killing her and hiding her body.

In “Disturbia” by DJ Caruso – with Shia Lebeouf as the leading character Kale Brecht – Brecht is on house arrest and passes his time mostly by snooping on the neighbors. By doing so, he suspects that one of his neighbors has committed a murder and hidden the body of the victim. Brecht, sitting in his chair, utterly resembles Jeffries in “Rear Window,” sitting in his wheelchair.

  • Avatar (2005) vs. Comic Books

“Avatar” is a fictional movie about the Na’vi alien world of Pandora. It had a number of plagiarism allegations shortly after its debut, which drew the attention among its audience.

In 2013, William Roger Dean – an album cover artist – sued “Twentieth Century Fox” for plagiarism, claiming the look of Pandora was similar to the landscapes he created in his artwork in some of his books (Dragon’s Dream, Magnetic Storm and Views).

Timespirits, a Marvel comic of the 80s by Stephen Perry, claimed that the characters in the comic are identical to the creatures in the movie.

Ruslan Zakriyev – a Chechen author – claimed that the movie had scenes identical to his book. He demanded a third of the earnings of the blockbuster.

  • The Hunger Games (2012) vs. Battle Royale (2000)

“The Hunger Games” based on a novel by Suzanne Collins is a story about an apocalyptic setting in the future. Children participate in death matches as a punishment to citizens for rebelling in the past until only one child is left standing.

“Battle Royale” on the other hand is a Japanese movie based on a Japanese novel. It is also set in an apocalyptic future where children are forced to battle each other to death by a disturbed government so they would prevent a revolution.

If this has not been enough, there is also a scene in “The Hunger Games,” which shows an introduction to the battlefield. The children are forced to fight on the spot to gain survival equipment like guns and backpacks. “Battle Royale” has an uncannily resembling scene. The children are thrown into the battle pit with equipment for the winner to take all. The names of the dead are read out over loudspeakers in both movies during these scenes.

  • Pixar vs. Luxo

“Pixar Animation Studios” was sued by “Luxo”, a Norwegian company for lamp manufacturing, allegedly plagiarized by the Luxo Jr. lamp model and started selling replicas with a film release without the permission of the company. Previously, Pixar has used this lamp as their branding introductory animation. Luxo had no problems with that. However, once they started selling their own models of the lamp the Luxo initiated the prosecution.

A few months after that, however, “Disney”, the parent company of “Pixar”, reached a settlement with “Luxo” so the lawsuit was withdrawn.

  • Poltergeist (1982) vs. Little Lost Girl (1962)

“Poltergeist” is a horror movie about a haunted area of ancient Indian burial grounds, where households were built. There is a haunted child by the name if Carole Anne apparent in the second half of the movie, somehow imprisoned within the walls of a house.

“Little Girl Lost”, a Twilight Zone episode, has a girl that is trapped between different dimensions in her own home, as the parents panic over her salvation. One parent decides to go to the other dimension, with the aim to rescue the beloved daughter. The storyline is almost the same, with the small difference of “Poltergeist” having a psychic helping the parents, where the mother goes to the other dimension, while in “Little Girl Lost” the person helping is a scientist and the father goes to the rescue.


If you have other examples of plagiarism in the film industry, please comment below. We are happy to read from you!




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