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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Sony sued over 'X-Men copy' movie
X-Men 2
Famke Janssen and Halle Berry (r) starred as Jean Grey and Storm in the sequel to X-Men
Comic book publisher Marvel is suing Sony Pictures, saying its forthcoming film Zoom borrows themes from the hit X-Men movies.

Both feature a school which teaches children with special powers, Marvel and studio 20th Century Fox said.

They also alleged that Sony and Revolution Studios brought forward the release of Zoom to thwart the release of next X-Men instalment X3.

Sony and Revolution Studios declined to comment on the California legal action.

'Written warning'

Based upon Marvel's comic book characters, X-Men became a hit film starring Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman in 2000, spawning sequel X2 three years later.

X-Men and X2 took more than $700m (384m) at the international box office.

Based upon graphic novel Zoom's Academy by Jason Lethcoe, Zoom will be a comedy starring Galaxy Quest actor Tim Allen and ex-Friends star Courteney Cox.

Zoom continues to copy key elements, concepts, themes, characters and storylines from X-Men
Marvel and Sony's legal statement
In their copyright infringement claim, Marvel and Fox said Revolution ignored a written warning to avoid duplicating X-Men elements.

"Although Revolution changed some parts of the Zoom script... those few cosmetic changes cannot cover up the fact that Zoom continues to copy key elements, concepts, themes, characters and storylines from X-Men," they said.

They asked a California federal court to order Sony and Revolution to remove infringing material from their script and not to market or release their movie in a way that unfairly traded off the success of the X-Men comics or films.

Marvel and Fox said: "Just days after Fox announced X3 would be released on 26 May 2006, Sony and Revolution deliberately moved up Zoom's release so that it would come two weeks before, instead of 11 weeks after the release of X3."

Vinnie Jones and ex-Frasier star Kelsey Grammer are due to appear in X3, to be directed by Rush Hour director Brett Ratner.

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