Best-selling author Clive Cussler has been ordered to pay $US5 million ($A6.01 million) to the movie production company behind box-office flop Sahara following a bitter legal battle.
A jury at Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that Cussler had breached his contract following a complex 14-week trial that focused on the 2005 big-screen adaptation of his novel starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz.
But the jury also ruled that the production company in the film - Crusader Entertainment - must also pay Cussler $US8.5 million ($A10.21 million) for failing to turn a second book into a movie.
A judge will finalise the conflicting damage amounts at a later hearing.
Cussler, 75, had sued Crusader Entertainment in 2004, alleging the company broke his contract by using a Sahara script that he had not approved.
But Crusader - owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz - said in a countersuit that Cussler himself breached his contract and publicly disparaged the film.
The company said Cussler allowed details of his financial negotiations with Crusader to become public and had also inflated his book sales to persuade the company to buy the movie rights to the film.
Good advice in that business is simply to take the paycheck and shut up.