Dreamworks of Steven Spielberg, its parent company Viacom Inc, and Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co’s NBC Universal, are accused of copyright infringement and breach of contract for making Disturbia without first obtaining permission from the copyright holders, according to a law suit filed in a US court. Spielberg, a Dreamworks founder, is named as a defendant.
Disturbia grossed about $80 million at the U.S. box office. According to the lawsuit, filed by the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust, the basis for Hitchcock’s 1954 film was Murder from a Fixed Viewpoint, a short story by Cornell Woolrich.
Hitchcock and actor James Stewart obtained the motion picture rights to the story in 1953. The lawsuit argues that Dreamworks should have done the same.
In reviewing Disturbia, the New York Times called it “a kind of adolescent ‘Rear Window.'” The Toronto Star newspaper called it “a rip off with wit.”