French media giant Vivendi SA blasted back Tuesday at a lawsuit claiming it underpaid royalties for the cult classic "This Is Spinal Tap," calling the suit's demand of $400 million in damages "absurd."

The studio's filing in California federal court came in the form of a limited motion seeking to dismiss the movie's actors—Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner and Michael McKean—as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, but Vivendi didn't exactly hold back on what it thinks about the case as a whole.

"Plaintiffs may not like the fact that they have not received anything close to the $400 million in contingent compensation that their complaint absurdly claims they should have received," the media giant wrote. "But that is only because the movie they made has not generated anywhere near the revenue necessary to pay them anything close to that sum."

"Their motion does not dispute that Vivendi has paid virtually nothing to Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean for This Is Spinal Tap," said Peter L. Haviland of Ballard Spahr LLP. "Yet it asserts these co-creators have no legal right, or standing, to challenge this absurdity. We disagree."

Notably, Tuesday's filing also says Vivendi plans to file a declaratory counterclaim that Shearer cannot "terminate" the studio's rights in the film. The company says "Spinal Tap" was created as a so-called work for hire, meaning the rights always stayed with the studio.

The plaintiffs are represented by Peter L. Haviland and Scott S. Humphreys of Ballard Spahr LLP.

Read the full article here. Subscription may be required.