As the film “Lottery Ticket” prepares to open next weekend – with its plot of a young man trying to keep folks from stealing his winning $370 million lottery ticket,” a writer is claiming that the idea for the movie was taken from him and developed with neither his permission nor knowledge.
Per the Hollywood Reporter…
Screenwriter Tom Huang claims that in 2004, Evolution took him on as a client and helped him develop a treatment for a film called “Gotta Make It Til Morning.” Kaplan, a literary manager, then allegedly suggested Huang work with Erik White, another Evolution client, to develop the idea further. After a few meetings, the project didn’t go anywhere, and Huang says he thought the movie was dead. That is, until he saw a TV commercial recently for “Lottery Ticket,” the Bow Wow, Ice Cube comedy “which he immediately recognized as a derivative work of ‘Gotta Make It Til Morning,’” according to the complaint.
Huang’s lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday targets Evolution Entertainment and managers Brad Kaplan, Oren Koules and Mark Burg, as well as Erik White, the director with a co-”story by” credit on “Lottery Ticket,” which Warner Bros will release on Aug. 20.
Huang has sued for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, civil conspiracy, breach of oral contract, promissory estoppel, breach of implied-in-fact-contract and unjust enrichment. Neither Warner Bros. nor producer Alcon Entertainment is a defendant.
“Kaplan kept the project secret from Huang for six years and attempted to cover up the theft by fraudulently crediting and compensating White for creating the story for ‘Lottery Ticket,’” the complaint alleges.
Huang claims to have an email trail among Kaplan, White and himself that proves he created the story, as well as a Writers Guild of America registration for the treatment used to make the movie.
“Documents do not lie,” Huang’s lawyer Bryan Freedman said. “What makes this case so egregious is that Evolution actually represented Mr. Huang in connection with this very project and then used that position to secretly steal it away. They will be punished.”