John Landis has sued Michael Jackson for allegedly failing to pay profits over the last four years from Jackson’s “Thriller” video, which Landis co-wrote and directed in 1983.
Landis filed the suit last week in Los Angeles Superior Court through his company, Levitsky Prods., against Jackson and Optimum Prods.
“After a spectacular theatrical premiere, the ‘Thriller’ video became a worldwide megahit and an iconic pop culture phemnomemon that has continued to generate profits for defendants Optimum Prods. and Michael Jackson, who have wrongfully refused to pay or account for such profits to plaintiff,” the suit said.
The action accuses Jackson of “fraudulent, malicious and oppressive conduct” in failing to pay Landis 50% of the net proceeds. The suit includes the 1983 agreement between Jackson and Landis covering the video and an hourlong documentary, which Landis also directed.
The Nederlander Organization announced Monday that it had obtained rights to produce a musical version of “Thriller,” with Jackson due to be involved in “every aspect” of the creative process.
News of the suit was first reported at www.thewrap.com