It’s been more than two years since Mad Max: Fury Road blew audiences away and gained critical acclaim. It went on to win six Academy Awards, but now director George Miller is suing Warner Bros over what he is calling “unpaid earnings.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the falling out was revealed in a Supreme Court of New South Wales ruling that the dispute between production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell and Warner Bros should be arbitrated in Australia and not in California. Warner Bros says that the dispute shouldn’t be arbitrated in Australia and that it is “a clearly inappropriate forum” to settle the dispute, Justice Hammerschlag disagreed.
This dispute is probably the reason why Miller has not made two more long-planned Mad Max movies.
Justice David Hammerschlag said the agreement to make Fury Road included a condition that Miller’s production company would receive a $7 million bonus if “the final net cost” of the movie was not more than $157 million.
And that if Warner Bros intended to seek another co-financier, it would first offer Kennedy Miller Mitchell the chance to provide finance. But the production company says Warner Bros entered an agreement with Brett Ratner‘s company, RatPac Entertainment, for 12.5 percent of the movie’s funding, thus violating the agreement to give Kennedy Miller Mitchell the first offer.
The production company filed the lawsuit against the studio over unpaid earnings in September.
“On [Warner Bros’] calculations, Mad Max went over budget,” Justice Hammerschlag said. “If these calculations are right, [Kennedy Miller Mitchell] does not get a bonus.”
“[But the production company] claims [Warner Bros] made a series of decisions which caused substantial changes and delays to Mad Max, which led to additional costs and expenses and that [the studio] wrongly took them into account in its over-budget calculation.”
“If those costs are left out of account [Kennedy Miller Mitchell] says that Mad Max came in under budget.”
The production company also brought a claim against Warner Bros for “misleading and deceptive conduct” for not informing it that additional costs due to the studio’s changes and delays would be included in budget calculations.
Miller and Mitchell say they ended up filing the lawsuit after they were disappointed that “after all the hard work and success of the film, the studio failed to honor its obligations” to them.
“Simply put, we are owed substantial earnings for diligent and painstaking work which spanned over 10 years in development of the script and preparation and three years in production of the movie,” they said. “That hard work resulted in a picture which found wide acclaim globally …
“We would much prefer to be making movies with Warner Bros than litigating with them but, after trying for over a year, we were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution and have now had to resort to a law suit to sort things out.”
Warner Bros responded with a short statement saying: “We disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims.”
Let’s hope the studio and Miller can settle this on good terms because it would be a shame if this drama got in the way of any future Mad Max films.