Mad Max: Fury Road is a rare example of a kickarse film that was also a box office smash, but director George Miller claims that he and certain key players were not paid fairly for their work, and are gearing up to sue studio Warner Bros over the matter.
The 72-year-old director, who is responsible for every film in the series and is currently working on the follow-up Mad Max: The Wasteland, has hit pause on all of his current projects to attend to the potential court battle.
Fury Road earned over $500 million world-wide, but representatives of George Miller’s production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell this week claimed that “after all the hard work and success of the film, the studio failed to honour its obligations.”
The dispute relates to a promised $7 million bonus that was to be paid to the production company if the film came in with a “final net cost” of less than $157 million.
The budget ultimately exceeded this amount, but Miller and company claim that this is the fault of Warner Bros for causing “substantial changes and delays” to production.
Their claim alleges “misleading and deceptive conduct” on the studio’s part, and says that if certain of Warner Bros’ expenses are factored out, the film in fact came in under budget.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Miller said that he and his staff worked diligently for 120 days on a project, which was more than a decade in the making. He told the publication:
“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.”
The director added that:
“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 lawsuit to sort things out.”
George Miller has two new Mad Max screenplays completed, one of which is presumably The Wasteland. We really, really hope this is resolved quickly so he can get back to work.