Russian Court Throws Out 'The Martian' Plagiarism Lawsuit, Writer Appeals

The Martian Still 9 Matt Damon - H 2019
Aidan Monaghan/Twentieth Century Fox

Mikhail Raskhodnikov has demanded $655,000 in damages from Fox over alleged plagiarism of a script.

Russian screenwriter Mikhail Raskhodnikov is appealing a decision by a Moscow court to throw out his lawsuit against Fox over alleged plagiarism of his screenplay in Ridley Scott's The Martian.

Moscow's Khamovniki court registered an appeal from Raskhodnikov, who is demanding $655,000 (50 million rubles) in damages from Fox.

A spokesman for Fox's Russian office declined to comment.

Raskhodnikov claims that several years ago he sent a script he wrote to several studios and is positive that it eventually made it to Fox's headquarters, with the plotline and some details from it eventually being used in The Martian.

"I sent to [Fox] a screenplay and some visual material," Raskhodnikov was quoted as saying by Russian news agency RIA Novosti. "The company rejected it but later released an almost identical film under the same title."

The court said it accepted the defendant's argument that numerous stories on space travel to Mars exist, and similarities between Scott's movie and Raskhodnikov's script are coincidental. The court also took into consideration the fact that The Martian was not filmed from an original script, but was based on a novel.

Incidentally, Raskhodnikov's script is currently being filmed in Russia. Oleg Teterin, who produced Russia's highest-grossing local movie of 2014, Viy, is among the producers. The release is slated for later this year.

The Martian grossed $19.3 million in Russia and was 2015's seventh-highest-grossing movie in the country.