Actor Robert Wagner has sued Sony Pictures Entertainment claiming he is entitled to half the profits from the two "Charlie's Angels" movies.
His claim is based on his role in developing the 1970s television series on which the films were based.
Wagner and his late wife, actress Natalie Wood, became financially linked to the original "Charlie's Angels" TV series through producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, the lawsuit said.
The two actors agreed to star in a 1974 TV movie called "The Affair" and as part of the deal were given a part interest in proposals for five TV shows that Spelling-Goldberg Productions pitched to America's ABC Television for the 1974-1975 season, the suit said.
One of those ideas became the series, "Charlie's Angels," about a mysterious millionaire who ran a private detective agency staffed by three beautiful former police officers. The show originally starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith and ran from 1976 to 1981.
In his lawsuit, Wagner said Sony, which has since assumed all rights to the series from Spelling's production company, has refused to pay him his share of the profits from the 2000 film "Charlie's Angels" and its 2003 sequel "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." Both films starred Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz.
The first film generated box office receipts of nearly than £80 million in America, and the sequel, which opened in late June, has grossed more than £40 million in the United States.
The lawsuit asks the court to require Sony to include profits from the films in calculating Wagner's share of net profits for the TV series, and to turn over all information and financial records regarding the making of the movies.
"This has to do with whether or not his entitlement to a share in the television series extends to the movie," Wagner's attorney, Samuel Pryor, said.