Director John Carpenter just won a court battle against production company EuropaCorp and writers of the film "Lockout" (Stephen St. Leger, James Mather and Besson), which was released in 2012.
Carpenter claimed that they had plagiarized his work, citing many similarities between the "lockout" film and his films "Escape from New York" and "Escape from L.A.". The court agreed stating: A number of elements present in both ‘[Escape From New York]' and ‘Lock-Out' could in fact be considered as stock elements in cinema. Other elements differed, such as the pace of the film and the special effects, but this could be because of the amount of time that had passed between the releases of the two films -1981 and 2012- and by the evolution in both techniques and mentalities in the intervening period. The court nevertheless noted many similarities between the two science-fiction films: both presented an athletic, rebellious and cynical hero sentenced to a period of isolated incarceration -despite his heroic past- who is given the offer of setting out to free the President of the United States or his daughter held hostage in exchange for his freedom; he manages, undetected, to get inside the place where the hostage is being held after a flight in a glider/space shuttle, and finds there a former associate who dies; he pulls off the mission in extremis, and at the end of the film keeps the secret documents recovered in the course of the mission. The court held that the combination of these elements, which gave the film ‘New York 1997' its particular appearance and originality, had been reproduced in ‘Lock-Out', apart from certain scenes and specific details that were only present in the first film. The difference in the location of the action and the more modern character featured in ‘Lock-Out' was not enough to differentiate the two films.
EuropaCorp was ordered to pay 20, 000 euros to Carpenter, 10 000 euros to the screenwriter and 50 000 euros to the rights owner of the movie.