According to Variety, Actor Warren Beatty, who starred in and directed the 1990 movie Dick Tracy, can proceed with a lawsuit he filed in May against a unit of Tribune Co. over the rights to the comicbook detective.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson denied Tribune Media Services' motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the case involves issues of contract interpretation and "mixed questions of fact and law" that must be sorted out in future proceedings, according to a ruling filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles.

Tribune, the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, assigned Beatty the motion picture, television and other rights to Dick Tracy in 1985. Beatty claims that the company didn't properly follow the contract's procedure to recapture the rights. The actor seeks a court ruling that he controls the rights and $30 million in damages.

The judge also denied a request by Beatty's lawyers to send the case back to state court.

"We're not unhappy because we like this court," said Beatty lawyer Bert Fields. "We're pleased with the outcome on the motion to dismiss, but there'll probably be other motions."

In the complaint filed May 13, Beatty said that Tribune's claims have "clouded the title" to the Tracy rights and have made it "commercially impossible" for Beatty to produce another Dick Tracy project.