The future of George Miller’s acclaimed Mad Max series is in doubt after a falling out with his Hollywood partners, Warner Bros.
Fairfax Media film writer Garry Maddox has revealed that Miller’s production company and the Hollywood film giant are currently locked in a court battle over bonus payments for the 2015 instalment, Fury Road.
The fourth film in the series, co-written, produced, and directed by Miller, grossed $US379 million at the box office.
But the two sides are in dispute over how much it cost to make, with a $US7 million bonus to Miller’s company, Kennedy Miller Mitchell, at stake over what’s known as the “final net cost”.
The budget was $US157 million. Miller claims he delivered the film for $US154.6 million, but Warner Bros argues it cost $US30 million more.
The dispute is now being played out in the NSW Supreme Court after Miller launched legal action in November last year, with the director accusing his Hollywood partner of acting in a “high-handed, insulting or reprehensible” manner.
Warner Bros has appealed against the case being heard in Australia.
The two sides dispute who was responsible for late changes to the film, which ultimately delayed its release by 14 months and pushed the total cost out to $US185.1 million.
Warner Bros blames Miller’s company for the additional expense, saying it did not give written approval. While the studio asked for an alternative ending, it says it did not insist on it.
Miller claims the studio insisted on changes at least 10 times after it was screen tested.
Miller has the scripts for Mad Max 5 and 6 ready but claims the studio has destroyed the trust that would enable their production to proceed.
Maddox reveals some of the astonishing details argued over – and now turned into recriminations – during Fury Road’s production.
For example, Warner Bros said it wanted a 100-minute movie with no more than a PG-13 rating, but the end result was 120-minutes movie with an MA 15+ rating (it was R in the US).
Ratpac-Dune Entertainment, the production company co-founded by James Packer, also became involved as co-financiers, at the behest of Warner Bros, but Kennedy Miller Mitchell claims that under the contract it should have been given the chance to contribute any additional funds first.
Steven Mnuchin, now Donald Trump’s US Secretary of the Treasury, was given an executive producer credit as a result.
You can real the full Fairfax story here.
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