Malignant copyright lawsuit has been settled

A copyright lawsuit had been filed against James Wan, claiming the Malignant script was plagiarized, but the issue has been resolved

Malignant Annabelle Wallis

We didn’t catch word of this when it happened, but it has been revealed that short filmmaker Adam Cosco recently filed a copyright and breach of contract lawsuit against Malignant director James Wan and his wife Ingrid Bisu (who Wan crafted the Malignant story with, along with Akela Cooper), claiming the film plagiarized a screenplay he had written called Little Brother. Thankfully, the details are the lawsuit are just now coming to light because the case has been settled.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cosco claimed that Ryan Turek of Blumhouse had access to his Little Brother script and passed it over to Wan, who then used it as the basis for Malignant. Wan denied ever receiving or reading the script, but the lawsuit pointed out that there were several similarities between the two works. The complaint pointed out that “both screenplays feature a twist that the protagonist has her twin brother absorbed inside her in the form of a malignant tumor, an inciting incident where the main female character is a victim of violence at the hands of a man that allows the twin to take over her body, and scenes of hypnotherapy in which the protagonist recalls repressed memories from childhood, among other things.” Cosco was seeking at least $150,000, plus punitive damages.

A judge sided with Wan’s company Atomic Monster’s argument that the lawsuit was aiming to suppress their free speech. The company “argued, citing a California statute allowing for the early dismissal of suits intended to chill First Amendment rights, that the making of Malignant was in connection with public issues relating to feminism and female autonomy. The company also stressed that the movie was inspired by prior horror works involving evil twins.” (Like Basket Case.) The judge also noted that Cosco failed to prove the defendants ever had access to the Little Brother script.

Cosco has now moved to have the case dismissed entirely, saying he has reached “a deal to resolve the lawsuit. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Wan may not have read Little Brother, but he was open about the fact that Malignant was his take on “that particular ’80s trope of storytelling where a victim starts seeing through the vision of a killer. There was a period where there were a lot of movies like that, and I’m a big fan of that particular sub-genre. Movies like The Eyes of Laura Mars. I wanted to do my own version, crossed with my love of [Brian] De Palma and [Dario] Argento and [Mario] Bava.” I thought Malignant was a lot of fun, so I’m glad to hear the legal issues have been cleared up.

What do you think of this Malignant lawsuit news? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Malignant Annabelle Wallis

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.