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‘Bad Boys’: Columbia Pictures Is Suing George Gallo Over Film Rights!

Columbia Pictures has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against George Gallo over the rights to the original ‘Bad Boys’ movie. The 1995 buddy cop comedy, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, was a hit, and it’s franchise has grossed more than $840 million at the global box office. Here’s what we know about the case:

Why is Columbia Pictures suing George Gallo?

Columbia Pictures is suing George Gallo over the rights to the story that the original ‘Bad Boys’ movie was based on. Gallo co-wrote the story in 1985 and filed copyright termination notices in 2020, asserting that the rights to the story belong to him and that any rights Columbia had to make derivative works of his story ended on June 27, 2022. Now, Columbia Pictures has finally responded by filing a lawsuit against Gallo arguing that the story was a “work for hire” and that they still own the rights to it. With Columbia’s lawsuit pending in the United States District Court, Gallo had denied this statement. Apparently, works for hire “are not subject to termination under Section 203 of the Copyright Act.” The outcome of the lawsuit could have a significant impact on the future of the ‘Bad Boys’ franchise, with its fourth installment being in development as we speak.

It is important to remember that the contract between Columbia Pictures and George Gallo does not explicitly state that the story was a work for hire. However, Columbia Pictures is arguing that it was nonetheless a work for hire, and this is the basis for their lawsuit.

“The contract regarding the 1995 film explicitly states, complete with full personal representations and warranties from Mr. Gallo, that the story – which was transformed by many other writers into what became the original film — was written as a work-for-hire. By law, such rights cannot be terminated. Entirely confident in its rights, the studio has sought declaratory relief confirming them and potential damages from interference with those rights and breach of contract.”

Columbia Pictures in a recent statement on the matter

What is the ‘Bad Boys’ franchise?

The original ‘Bad Boys’ movie, released in 1995, was a critical and commercial success grossing $141 million at the box office. It starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as two Miami narcotics detectives who are tasked with retrieving stolen heroin. The film spawned two sequels, ‘Bad Boys II’ in 2003 (grossing $273 million worldwide), and ‘Bad Boys for Life’ in 2020 (with $426 million in box office successes), with a fourth film currently in development. The ‘Bad Boys’ franchise is known for its action-packed sequences, comedic dialogue, and chemistry between Smith and Lawrence.