Legendary Pictures today filed suit (read it here) against producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison to have them removed from the Godzilla reboot. The company also wants the court to order arbitration to stop a potential temporary restraining order by the defendants against the film’s production. The new Godzilla is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros and Legendary on May 16 2014. “This dispute…concerns Defendants’ assertion that they are entitled to substantial producing fees and backend compensation on the Film,” claims Legendary in the suit. Lin Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment are also named as defendants in the case.
The complaint for Declaratory Relief filed in LA Superior Court Wednesday by The Dark Knight Rises and 300 producers claims that all is owed to the Warner Bros lot based Lin, Lee, Davison and their respective companies is $25,000 as agreed upon in the March 2011 Producer Loan Agreement the parties drafted. “Defendants would be entitled to certain backend compensation only if the Film were ‘produced substantially under the supervision’ of Defendants,” says Legendary in their suit. In their court documents, Legendary claims that it brought the trio on board soon after acquiring the rights to the Godzilla character from Japanese corporation Toho in March 2010. Legendary says that Lin, Lee and Davison had nothing to do with that deal and have no ownership or underlying rights to the giant monster or movies about him. In late 2012, Legendary told Lin, Lee and Davison that it would not be engaging them as producers on the Gareth Edwards-directed reboot. That’s when things really started to go bad. “Defendants, including through their counsel, have rejected Legendary’s notification that their producing services are not desired and that their compensation under the Agreement is limited to a $25,000 development fee. Defendants have threatened to file suit against Legendary, even going so far as to threaten to ‘seek a TRO’ to prevent the production of a motion picture in which they (Defendants) have no copyright interest whatsoever- a claim which would be preempted by the Copyright Act as a matter of law,” claims today’s legal action. A temporary restraining order could see Godzilla shut down for weeks or months, throwing the very release of the film by Legendary into doubt. To prevent such a move, the company made today’s preemptive legal move. “Legendary seeks a declaration that the written Agreement is an enforceable contract that was accepted by Defendants, such that the arbitration clause contained therein is enforceable and this dispute is subject to mandatory arbitration,” says the 12-page complaint. Legendary Pictures are represented by Dale Kinsella and Gregory Korn of Santa Monica firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.