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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 11:36 GMT
Sony 'sued' over Men in Black
Men In Black
Men In Black stars Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith
Marvel Enterprises is suing film studio Sony, saying they were deprived of $6m (3m) of royalties due to accounting irregularities, reports have said.

Variety said the legal action, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, challenges Sony's accounting records which claim both MIB and MIB II lost money.

Industry figures suggest the first film earned $493m (272m) worldwide, and the sequel, grossed $275m (151.9m).

Both companies are still involved in previous legal wrangle over Spider-Man.

A spokeswoman for Sony said: "We haven't seen the complaint. This is the first we've heard of it."

The Men In Black comic was originally published by Malibu Comics, which was bought by Marvel in 1995.

A film deal was struck with Columbia Pictures - part of Sony - in which the publisher would receive 35% of all merchandising income from MIB.

Spider-Man claims

The new legal action claims breach of contract and estimates damages at the 3m figure.

In April 2003, Marvel lodged a $50m (27.6 million) action, claiming that Sony had "hijacked" Spider-Man and was disassociating Marvel from the character.

Sony hit back with counter claim, saying it was a ploy by Marvel to renegotiate its agreement with the film studio.

The case has since been sent for deliberation before a private judge.

Creator's legal action

In June, Marvel launched a further legal action against Sony Electronics, claiming that the company refused to licence Spider-Man for use on its products.

The publisher is seekign more than $10m (5.5 millon) from its "interference" claim.

In 2002, the creator of Spider-Man launched a legal action against Marvel.

He claimed that he had been frozen out of the film adaptation's 500 million worldwide takings at the box office.

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