According to the suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Zaentz says New Line Cinema owes him that amount based on a partial audit of the first movie in the series, "The Fellowship of the Ring."
He also wants an additional $700,000 in compensatory damages.
New Line officials refused comment.
Zaentz had held the rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien (search) story since 1976 and said he optioned them for a percentage of the profits from the Peter Jackson movies, which grossed a total of nearly $3 billion worldwide.
In the 1980s, Zaentz fought legal battles with his ex-wife over the profits from "Amadeus" and with John Fogerty, the frontman for Creedence Clearwater Revival, a group he once oversaw as the head of Fantasy Records.