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RULING MAY HELP UNRAVEL MYSTERY OF FILM FINANCING

In a decision that may help unravel the mystery of Hollywood studio financing, a judge has ruled that Paramount Pictures used an "unconscionable" formula to deny Art Buchwald royalties for the blockbuster film "Coming to America."

Superior Court Judge Harvey Schneider said Friday that Buchwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author, and his partner deserve a fair share of the net profits from the Eddie Murphy film. He ruled the studio reduced the film's net profit through such "unconscionable" charges as excessive overhead and interest fees.

Schneider earlier ruled that Buchwald's 1982 script, "King for a Day," submitted to Paramount, formed the basis for "Coming to America." The judge ordered a third phase of the trial to be held next year to determine the exact amount of damages.

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