Warner Bros. Sued Over 'Gilligan's Island' Movie

Georgia man claims to have authored an adaptation of the 1960s TV show

Travis Dunson has decided to test the long odds by filing a copyright lawsuit against Warner Bros. for allegedly infringing his adaptation of the 1960s television show Gilligan's Island.

He's filed a complaint in Georgia federal court that submits he authored a work in 1999 titled "Gilligan's Island: 7 Stranded Castaways From the Hood," that he had an agent shop the work on his behalf and that Warners' senior vp music told his agent that he had read the script and "loved it."

Warner Bros. is in development on a new movie version of Gilligan's Island that has been entrusted to Josh Gad, the Broadway star who is one of the voices in Disney Animation's hit Frozen, as well as writers Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez.

Dunson is silent in his lawsuit about how the upcoming Gilligan's Island remake is "substantially similar" to his own. The plaintiff only states that he recognized such to be true after a review of the synopsis on the Warner Bros. website as well as "additional Internet research." The lawsuit also alleges a breach of implied contract, though Dunson doesn't get into any specifics about the deal he thinks he had besides an expectation of compensation.

The lawsuit suffers from other potential cuts. Maybe something to watch if Warners brings counterclaims, Dunson is mum about whether he had any licensed authority to adapt the original television show and distribute a derivative in screenplay form. The plaintiff is going to court with a lawyer, however. Eric Register is the attorney who apparently has advised the plaintiff to go forward with his claims.

In a statement, Warner Bros. responds, "“There is no merit to this lawsuit.  Not only does the plaintiff have no rights in an unauthorized work based on the Gilligan property, the project he’s suing over never went forward.”

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner