A judge rejected 20th Century Fox’s bid for dismissal of a lawsuit seeking more money for the creator of the basketball film “White Men Can’t Jump.”
Superior Court Judge Richard P. Kalustian ruled Monday that a jury must decide the terms of a contract between the movie studio and Ron Shelton.
Kalustian set jury selection for March 21 and scheduled opening statements for March 24.
In his written ruling, the judge said there is enough evidence for a jury to determine whether the contract terms are “sufficiently certain, particularly as to the terms ‘net profits’ and ‘gross receipts.’ ”
Hollywood’s accounting practices and definition of net profits have been central to other contract disputes.
Shelton claims the contract he signed with then-studio chief Joe Roth called for him to get 50% of the film’s net profits, which according to the lawsuit totaled about $36 million.
Shelton’s lawyer, Brian Lysaght, told the judge his client was paid about $2.5 million for writing and directing the 1992 film about a pair of hustlers (played by Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes).
Louis Meisinger, an attorney for Fox, said Shelton was represented by an attorney and an agent. There was no mention in the contract of a 50% net profit deal for him, Meisinger said.
“You’d expect to find it on a piece of paper. You don’t see it, so there is no money owed him,” Meisinger said out-side court Monday.