Author Harlan Ellison has dropped his copyright infringement suit against the producers of the science-fiction thriller In Time. In September the author filed suit stating that the film’s concept has been liberally cribbed from his own short story “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said The Tick Tock Man.”
Ellison’s story tells of a dystopian future where time is strictly regulated and merely the act of being late for something is a criminal offense. In Time tells of a near-future world where time has become a currency which leads to people selling years off of their lives to the upper class. Although no reason was given when the author’s lawyer filed paper work to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, the Hollywood Reporter stated that the decision came after Ellison had reportedly had a chance to see the film following its October 28th release. It is possible that Ellison saw that the devil was in the details and that the film did not bare more than a passing resemblance to his own story.
It is also possible that Ellison didn’t want to make any strong associations between his short story and the film, which has earned a rather paltry 38% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Recently, Ellison optioned the film rights to the short story to J. Michael Straczynski, who is spearheading an attempt to get it on the big screen. Here’s hoping that the end result will be better than In Time turned out.