(Jan. 28) - "Thriller" may be headed to Broadway, but first Michael Jackson's song and groundbreaking music video may be headed to court.
John Landis, the acclaimed director who co-wrote the video and shot "Thriller," is suing Jackson, claiming the pop star has failed to pay him royalties for the project for the past four years.
Landis' Levitsky Productions Inc. sued Jackson for unspecified damages in Santa Monica on Jan. 21, days before a Broadway producer announced he had bought the rights to adapt "Thriller" for the stage.
The lawsuit claims Landis is owed 50 percent of profits from "Thriller" projects and alleges Jackson continues to license rights to video games, toys and comic books based on the video and a documentary.
The 14-minute "Thriller" video, featuring dancing zombies and Jackson himself, was first aired in 1983 and remains one of the most influential music videos worldwide. Landis also made a documentary about the making of the "Thriller" video.
Landis, director of movies including "An American Werewolf in London" and "The Blues Brothers," said in his lawsuit that he had not received his 50 percent share of the profits from "Thriller" -- including licensing rights -- for at least the past four years from Jackson's now-defunct company Optimum Productions.
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John Landis vs. Michael Jackson: The famed director is suing the king o' pop for "fraudulent, malicious and oppressive conduct" when it comes to paying his share of royalties for their groundbreaking collaboration, 'Thriller.'
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The lawsuit accuses Jackson, 50, of "fraudulent, malicious and oppressive conduct," claiming that Jackson had failed to produce full and proper accounts for the past four years "and earlier."
A phone message left for a New York attorney who has represented Jackson was not immediately returned Wednesday morning.
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