The Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox were sued Monday in Los Angeles for more than $1 billion by a Malaysian casino company which alleges the studios backed out of an agreement to sponsor a "Fox World" theme park outside Kuala Lumpur.
Lawyers for Genting Malaysia Berhad allege in the lawsuit, filed in federal court, that Fox, with Disney, breached a 2013 contract to license intellectual property, including "Ice Age" and "Planet of the Apes," for the first-ever Fox-branded park.
Representatives of Disney and Fox could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to the 29-page complaint, Disney wants to end the contract because going into business with a gambling company does not correspond to its "family-friendly" image.
"The plan was for Fox World to be the new centerpiece of Resorts World Genting, GENM's integrated resort complex in Genting Highlands, an idyllic mountain retreat 6,000 feet above sea level and an hour's drive outside of Kuala Lumpur that already attracts over 23 million visitors a year," according to the lawsuit.
Genting runs the only legal land-based casino in Malaysia, along with hotels, venues, shopping malls and scores of restaurants, bars and clubs. The company claims Fox issued a default notice with the hope of terminating the contract, in a manner "entirely consistent with Disney wanting to kill the deal."
According to the suit, which alleges that Genting had already made a $750 million-plus investment in the park, the studios are liable "for what will exceed a billion dollars in damages attributable to the bad-faith behavior of both Fox and Disney."