- Action taken against 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures
- Lawsuits relate to royalties on home video revenues
PUBLISHED: 07:52 EST, 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:56 EST, 17 January 2013
Along with two directors, the family has put forward a claim that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in back royalties on films distributed to the home video market.
News Corp’s 20th Century Fox, Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures, Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures were sued in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The four lawsuits – described in a release as a class action – were also filed on behalf of others who might be added later, said Neville Johnson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.
He said the amounts owed talent on such contracts could total hundreds of millions of dollars.
Representatives for the studios were either unavailable or had no immediate comment.
Johnson said the plaintiffs’ contracts pre-date the 1980s when it became the industry standard to pay talent a royalty based on 20 per cent of home video revenues.
He said the plaintiffs’ contracts entitle them to a royalty based on a 100 percent of receipts.
‘SPE’s (Sony’s) failure to include 100 per cent of revenue has caused substantial damages to the plaintiff and class,’ the lawsuit said.
A similar suit against Fox was filed by filmmaker Stanley Donen over his 1975 movie ‘Lucky Lady,’ while the suits against Paramount and Universal were filed by filmmaker Colin Higgins over films ‘Foul Play’ and ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.’