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Luc Besson is pretty much paying for John Carpenter’s retirement at this point

Escape From New York

2012’s fun-but-dumb sci-fi caper Lockout is becoming an increasingly expensive movie for co-writer and producer Luc Besson, who was forced last year by a French court to pay director John Carpenter for ripping off Escape From New York with the plot of the Guy Pearce-starring film. Back then, the amounts levied against Besson’s EuropaCorp production company were relatively minor—80,000 euros in all, split between Carpenter, his co-writer Nick Castle, and the film’s rights holder—but the appeals process has caused the bill to steadily pile up.

According to Deadline, a judge ruled today that Besson and company now owe 450,000 euros—roughly $500,000—to Carpenter for the now-legally plagiarized film, which sees Guy Pearce play the “athletic, rebellious, and cynical hero” type that Carpenter apparently owns in perpetuity. That’s a lot of potential funding for the director’s ongoing, keyboard-heavy music tours, even if it’s less than the $2.4 million he initially sought.


For his own part, Besson seemed resigned to paying the cash and getting on with his career, with a spokesman for the director telling reporters they were “very surprised by the ruling, but the judges have spoken and we will accept their judgment.” Besson’s last film, Lucy, was a huge hit despite having a premise even sillier than “only the world’s baddest criminal can save the president (or his daughter),” and his next, the sci-fi comic book epic Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, drew healthy buzz after Besson showed off its Technicolor weirdness at Comic-Con this year.

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