By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Four Hollywood studios were
named on Wednesday in lawsuits brought by two directors and a
representative for late actor Charles Bronson claiming what
could be up to 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
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 predate the 1980s
when it became the industry standard to pay talent a royalty
based on 20 percent of home video revenues.
He said the plaintiffs' contracts entitle them to a royalty
based on a 100 percent of receipts.
Bronson trustee Larry Martindale in the suit against Sony
cited a contract for the late star's "Hard Times" film that
provided for the late actor to share in 10 percent of 100
percent of receipts the studio collected.
"SPE's (Sony's) failure to include 100 percent of revenue
has caused substantial damages to the plaintiff and class," the
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
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