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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 11:51 GMT
Movie makers in film 'flop' fight
Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey played Dirk Pitt in the film Sahara
Two men behind a Hollywood movie are locked in a legal battle over who is to blame for the film's failure.

The 2005 film Sahara, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz, was supposed to be the start of a lucrative action franchise.

But author Clive Cussler, who sold the story to billionaire Philip Anschutz, claims the adaptation was ruined because of bad scripts.

Mr Anschutz said Mr Cussler did not co-operate with his studio.

He also claims the author misled Mr Anschutz's firm about his books' popularity.

Before the dispute began, both men believed the project would spawn further movies.

It made $68m at the US box office. - but is said to have cost $130m to make.

Creative control

Mr Cussler was granted creative control over the films, and in return it was agreed he would get $10 million (5million) for each book that eventually became a movie.

Philip Anschutz and Clive Cussler
Anschutz and Cussler blame each other for the flop of Sahara

However in 2004, the writer accused Mr Anschutz of breaching their deal by altering the screenplay, without his written consent.

Mr Anschutz argues Mr Cussler delayed production and increased costs.

He has also accused the author of making racist comments about Jews and black people, before the film was made. Mr Cussler has denied those accusations.

A Los Angeles jury is currently being selected to take part in the trial. Both sides are seeking millions of dollars in general and punitive damages.

Mr Cussler has written 19 books that have sold tens of millions of copies.

Mr Anschutz owns the largest US cinema chain, Regal, and his companies also own London's Millennium Dome and the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer franchise.

Sahara leads box office in the US
11 Apr 05 |  Entertainment

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