A Melissa McCarthy movie that was ripped apart by critics and didn’t do much business at the box office, is not the subject of an alleged copyright infringement suit. LIFE OF THE PARTY, which follows McCarthy playing a woman that attends college with her daughter after her husband leaves her, is under fire because a short subject writer named Eva Kowalski alleges she came up with the idea.
Kowalski claims that back in 2014, she met with representatives of the Gersh Agency and pitched a script called College Mom. In her lawsuit, Kowalski claims she was told her idea had “significant commercial likelihood of success.” The lawsuit then goes on to say “At this meeting, the script, story, and treatment referred to herein were discussed and presented to the Gersh Defendants, and details were further discussed at length.” Kowalski claims that after her meeting, Warner Bros. had a “secret plan” to rip her off. The film credits Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falone, the latter of which is also included in the suit, as the sole writers of the project.
The lawsuit is seeking “not less than $10,000,000” and the Lindemann Law Firm-represented Kowalski is also seeking an injunction against the movie. The suit claims that “Defendants breached the implied-in-fact contract by, among other actions, misappropriating, using, and exploiting Plaintiff’s Concepts and by disclosing Plaintiff’s Concepts, and producing the hit movie Life of the Party, repackaged as Defendants’ own project without Plaintiff’s permission.”
Kowalski doesn’t stop there. She also claims that Melissa McCarthy knew about College Mom the whole time and willingly put her name on the script. As of this writing, McCarthy and Falcone have not issued a statement on the matter. Also, just to be fair, LIFE OF THE PARTY and the alleged College Mom, also owe a lot to the mid-1980s comedy classic BACK TO SCHOOL. Starring Rodney Dangerfield, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young, Keith Gordon, and Robert Downey Jr., the film followed a fun-loving and obnoxious rich businessman that decides to enter the school of his discouraged as a student himself. The premises are loosely similar and I’m sure that will be the argument when the parties involved fight the College Mom case.
So why did this suit take so long to come to light? Kowalski says she was made aware of LIFE OF THE PARTY when it premiered on May 10th, 2018, but it has taken her over two years to get her legal affairs in order. The film grossed $65.8 million at the worldwide box office and isn’t going to go down as one of McCarthy’s most memorable endeavors so this case is likely the most attention the film has received in the last two years.
What do YOU think will come of the LIFE OF THE PARTY case?