Writer Marcus Webb sued Sylvester Stallone (and Millennium Films, Nu Image Films, and Lions Gate) claiming that Stallone and writer David Callaham for copyright infringement. Webb claimed that his script entitled The Cordoba Caper, was “strikingly similar” to the movie The Expendables. Webb further claimed that it was possible that both Stallone and Callaham could have seen the script because it had been shopped around Hollywood for ten years. Stallone denied these allegations.
The Cordoba Caper was about a group of elite, highly trained mercenaries. However, the Judge found that plots diverged from there. In Webb’s work, the group of mercenaries engages in a complex caper. In The Expendables, Stallone leads a group of elite mercenaries on a desperate mission to overthrow a despotic ruler of a South American Island. Stallone’s representative also highlighted the fact that Callaham had written drafts of the Expendables prior to Webb completing his script.
The original Expendables script received a large number of changes once Stallone and his production company bought the script. Some of the storylines were dropped and the action beefed up to create pay homage to the 80’s action genre. The judge granted the motion to dismiss Webb’s lawsuit. The opinion has not yet been published. One of the key issues that may have hindered Webb’s case, was the fact that Webb could not prove Stallone or Callaham ever saw his script.
Expendables 2 is set to be released this summer. The sequel adds 80’s action stars Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Dam to its cast.