Puzo estate sues over 'Godfather' games

7:40 PM PST 06/18/2008 by Leslie SImmons, AP

Claim Paramount owes $1 million for breach of contract

The estate of author Mario Puzo has filed suit against Paramount Pictures, claiming the studio owes it at least $1 million in revenues from the series of video games based on the Oscar-winning film "The Godfather."

The lawsuit claims Paramount is in breach of a 1992 contract entered by the famed writer and Paramount, giving Paramount licensing rights for any audio-visual elements that embody the "Godfather" saga or related works.

Puzo's estate, repped by the author's son, Anthony Puzo, claims the "Godfather" video game is covered under that agreement, but Paramount has "failed or refused to pay" the estate.

"Despite the vast wealth Puzo created for Paramount, it has refused to pay his children their agreed share of the revenue from that audio-visual product," the lawsuit states.

Paramount did not return a late call for comment.

Puzo was a relative unknown, and the success of "The Godfather" was not yet apparent when he was approached by Paramount to turn the mob book into a film for "an extremely low price," according to the lawsuit filed by Puzo estate attorney Bert Fields.

In 1992, Puzo and Paramount got into a contract battle, with Puzo claiming the studio was not meeting its obligations. That was settled with the 1992 agreement, which included Puzo's "significant" shares in A/V products sold or rented to the public, the lawsuit states. Puzo died in 1999, leaving the estate to his children.
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