The documentary filmmaker sued financiers Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles on Monday, claiming the brothers have used creative accounting to keep Moore from receiving more than $2.7 million for the 2004 documentary.
"Fahrenheit 9/11," which centered on the Bush White House's actions after the Sept. 11 attacks, grossed more than $100 million - a blockbuster by documentary film standards. Moore claims his agreement with the Weinsteins to distribute the picture called for him to receive half the film's profits, but audits performed since 2008 have turned up several irregularities.
The lawsuit states Moore's payments have been reduced by advertising, consulting, taxes and for travel described as "grossly excessive and unreasonable."
The Weinsteins' attorney, Bert Fields, said Moore's lawsuit should be thrown out.
"Michael Moore has been paid $20 million and he claims he should get $2 million more," Fields said Tuesday. "His claims are hogwash. They are totally without merit. He's been paid every dime he's entitled to."
Disputes over how studios handle accounting for major movies is nothing new, with lawsuits filed over the profits of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." Both cases were eventually resolved out of court.
The brothers have been responsible for bringing several hits to audiences, including "Pulp Fiction" and "Chicago" during their tenure at Miramax, which they founded in 1979. They later sold the company to The Walt Disney Co. but stayed there as managers, although they left over disputes about "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Moore is a documentary filmmaker known for tackling serious subjects with a touch of humor. He won an Academy Award for "Bowling for Columbine," which looked at gun control in the United States, and his latest project was titled, "Capitalism: A Love Story."