Luc Besson Found Guilty of Plagiarizing ‘Escape From New York’ in ‘Lockout’ Court Case
Back in 2012, Luc Besson co-wrote and produced the sci-fi action flick Lockout — better known to some as Space Jail, a title affectionately bestowed upon the film by the good people of the internet. If you saw the film — or even just the trailer — then you probably noticed some very obvious similarities between Lockout and Escape From New York, John Carpenter’s classic film that basically has the same plot. You weren’t the only one.
Lockout takes place in a dystopian future, in which a man (Guy Pearce) sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit agrees to help save the president’s daughter from a space jail taken over by dangerous prisoners. It’s not entirely dissimilar from Escape From New York, in which Kurt Russell’s protagonist has to rescue the president from Manhattan, which has become a massive prison overrun by inmates.
According to Yahoo!, a French court has found Besson guilty of plagiarism, noting that Lockout “massively borrowed key elements” from Carpenter’s 1981 classic. Despite some differences between the two films, the judges found there to be too many similarities, including protagonists that “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 meet a former sidekick who then dies” — among other elements.
The court has officially ruled that Besson must pay $500,000 to John Carpenter for the plagiarism.