Tom Cruise never would've been flying high in 'Top Gun' or its sequel if it wasn't for a story that the films are based on, the rights to which have lapsed ... this per a new lawsuit.
Die-hard fans might already be aware of this -- but the original 'Top Gun' from '86 is based on an article written by a guy named Ehud Yonay ... who wrote a very detailed piece in '83 about fighter pilots in the Navy. Yonay says Paramount snapped up the rights at the time by brokering a deal with him ... and it's well-known the film is based on his story.
That copyright claim Paramount secured at the time had an exclusive ownership period of 35 years ... Yonay's widow and son say they sent Paramount a notice that terminated the studio's rights to the story in January 2020.
The family alleges that Part 2 -- which they insist contains elements of their late dad/hubby's original tale -- wasn't technically completed until May 2021, and they claim it's clearly derivative of Yonay's story.
The timing here is key -- several reports suggest filming for 'Maverick' wrapped in 2019 ... but it will be interesting to see if Paramount claims post-production was completed before January 2020, which the Yonays assert was the cut-off date if Paramount wanted to crank out another 'TG' based on the old license.
Anyway, due to the box office success of the sequel -- upwards of hundreds of millions, globally -- the family is now suing for an injunction to stop Paramount from infringing on the story and, of course, damages. We reached out to Paramount, no word back.