Director and producer John Singleton is suing Paramount Pictures and MTV Films for at least $20 million, claiming fraud and breach of contract.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles, Singleton claims the studios failed to uphold an agreement connected with the distribution rights to 2005's "Hustle & Flow." The lawsuit claims the studios promised to finance and distribute two future Singleton productions within five years but added restrictions when he submitted the projects.
Paramount said in a statement Wednesday that it "was hoping that John Singleton would produce two more pictures before his agreement with our studio ended in 2010, but that did not happen. Instead, he went on to direct 'Abduction' for Lions Gate."
Singleton attorney Martin Singer responded by saying that the director's work on "Abduction" began after the Paramount deal expired.
"For Paramount to try to make his work on that film an issue now — having never raised it before — is typical of the lengths to which the studio will go in its desperate attempt to evade its legal and moral responsibilities," Singer said in a statement Thursday.
Singleton is demanding a jury trial. Paramount says the suit has no merit.
Paramount and MTV are units of Viacom Inc.