Screenwriter sues Fox over “Kingsman” copyright infringement

Taron Egerton in "Kingsman: The Secret Service." Photo by Twentieth Century Fox

20th Century Fox is being sued by R. Spencer Balentine who claims he wrote the material which was later used in Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Kingsman: The Secret Service was directed and co-produced by Matthew Vaughn, known for Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Snatch, and starred Taron Egerton as the main protagonist, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. The film made over $414 million against a $94 million budget.

Balentine claims that 20th Century Fox took his 2003 screenplay for his spy film, The Keepers, and turned it into Kingsman: The Secret Service without his permission. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Balentine’s attorney, Steven Lowe, argues that although the film uses content based on The Secret Service published in 2012 by Iconic Comics, a division of Marvel Comics, there are “several key aspects of the Film do not appear in The Secret Service comic that do appear in [Balentine’s] Screenplay”

Lowe adds that “in the comic, there is no reference to Knights of the Round Table, no small dog companion to the protagonist, no use of holograms, and the general theme of the comic is about public service rather than an individual overcoming humble origins to achieve greatness.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Balentine  is seeking $ 5 million in damages for copyright infringement.