Weinstein brothers, Bob and Harvey, are suing Warner Bros over its decision to divide The Hobbit into three films, which will mean they receive no payment from the second and third installments.
Miramax, founded by Weinstein brothers, sold its rights to The Hobbit to New Line, part of the Warner group, in 1998.
New Line agreed to make payments for the “first motion picture” only.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein claim the studio adapted the book into three films “solely to deprive plaintiffs” of agreed revenue.
“This case is about greed and ingratitude,” said the Weinsteins and Miramax, in a complaint filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court.
The film producers are suing Time Warner Inc for at least $75 million, alleging Warner Bros’ decision to create a trilogy of films from JRR Tolkien’s standalone novel was a pretext to deprive them of 5% of the gross receipts from the last two films.
A spokesman for Warner Bros accused the Weinsteins of “one of the great blunders in movie history”.
“Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact,” said Paul McGuire.
“They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit. And that’s all they’re owed.”
The second instalment of The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, directed by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, is due to be released worldwide on Friday.
The first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in 2012 and grossed more than $1 billion.