September 9, 2008

Spielberg Sued Over ‘Disturbia’ Plot

The estate of a man who owned the rights to "Rear Window" is suing Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg over the plot of his voyeur-themed film "Disturbia."

E! Online said the estate of the late Sheldon Abend contends in its lawsuit that it is entitled to some of the profits of the 2007 Spielberg-produced flick "Disturbia" because it resembles the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie, "Rear Window," as well as "It Had to Be Murder," the 1942 Cornell Woolrich short story upon which "Rear Window" was based.

Abend bought the rights to the story after Woolrich died in 1968, E! Online said.

"Disturbia," which had an estimated $20 million budget, earned about $80 million at the U.S. box office, the entertainment news Web site said.

Both "Disturbia" and "Rear Window" are about housebound people who spy on their neighbors to pass the time and believe one of them has committed murder.