Son of "Godfather" sues Paramount over video game

LOS ANGELES Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:06am BST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - The son of author Mario Puzo who created "The Godfather" sued Paramount Pictures on Wednesday, saying it had failed to hand over any of the revenues from a video game based on the book and award-winning movie.

In court documents filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on June 18, Anthony Puzo of New York said he was claiming at least $1 million in damages for breach of contract.

The action comes after Paramount licensed video game publisher Electronic Arts in 2006 to make and distribute a game based on the characters and story lines of the 1972 "Godfather" movie. Two other Godfather movies followed.

Puzo claimed in the court documents that Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., struck a deal with his father in 1992, agreeing to give Puzo a significant share of the revenue of any audio-visual products sold or rented with elements of the "Godfather" movies.

Puzo died in 1999, aged 78, leaving his estate essentially to his children.

"In material breach of the audio-visual products agreement, Paramount has failed and refused to pay the Puzo Estate the sums due it in respect of the Godfather game," said the court filing.

The suit claimed that this agreement was made because Puzo as paid "an extremely low price" by Paramount for the film rights to his book as he was a "young, relatively unknown author, struggling to support his family" at the time.

His book about Mafia life and the Corleone crime family was turned into one of the most successful award-winning movies of all-time starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.

No one from Paramount was immediately available to comment.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman)

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare )

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