Hollywood takes on Tennessee's Ajay

The six major Hollywood studios, joined by Miramax, New Line and DreamWorks, have sued a Tennessee theater owner for allegedly under-reporting box office receipts to the tune of “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the studios charge Ajay Theaters, owner of the Hollywood 16 in Jackson, Tenn., with a scheme to misrepresent the box office take of the theater. Complaint says Ajay provided false information on number of admissions, number of admissions in various ticket categories and the serial numbers of tickets. The fraudulent actions allegedly occurred from March 2003 until the present.

The studios are suing in Los Angeles because their licensing contracts with Ajay provide that California law will govern any dispute, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to actual damages, attorney fees and expenses involved in bringing the suit, the studios are asking for punitive damages. No dollar amounts were specified in the lawsuit, which said actual damages and punitive damages would be determined at trial.

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