Just under a year from now, Legendary Pictures is set to face off at trial against producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison in a battle over the trio being ejected from Godzilla. Having failed to keep the matter in arbitration, the studio used a motion filed last week to try to gut the producers’ claims of fraud in a cross-complaint, but the other side isn’t buying this latest move. “I think [Legendary is] very vulnerable,” says the producers’ main lawyer Stanton L. Stein of LA’s Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor. “I think they will do anything to slow down this going to trial, just like they have tried and failed in the past. They needed that property, and they used us to get it. They specified $1.3 million, first-dollar gross and a producer credit,” he adds of the deal his clients had with the studio to shepherd the Godzilla reboot all the way to the big screen. “They promised it and never delivered.”
Related: ‘Godzilla’ Sequel In The Work s At Warner Bros & Legendary
Legendary is taking an offensive approach with the motion it filed last week. “They claim that (Jon) Jashni and Legendary never intended to perform on promises allegedly made in 2009 and early 2010 that Cross-Complainants would be ‘well-treated’ on the Film and would be compensated and credited as its producers,” says the May 30 demurrer motion (read it here) from Legendary’s lawyers at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP. Claiming that emails proclaiming such good treatment were just an opinion on the exec’s part, Legendary has sought a July 31 hearing on the motion. With potentially millions at stake, the trial between the parties is set to start on May 17, 2015. While all this legal warfare has been going on, Godzilla came out May 16 and has made more than $375 million worldwide.
Related: Legendary “Confident” Of ‘Godzilla’ Lawsuit Outcome Despite Appeals Court Loss
Read More »
It’ll be almost a year to the day after the new Godzilla hits the big screen, but the long legal clash between Legendary Pictures and a trio of veteran producers dumped from the reboot now has a trial date. Despite Legendary’s efforts to keep the matter private, the parties will be arguing their case in front of a jury in LA Superior Court starting May 17, 2015. That could change if the two sides reach a settlement over credits and compensation for the Warner Bros-distributed tentpole. If that doesn’t happen, the trial, which ejected producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison have been seeking since filings started flying in January 2013, is scheduled to last around 10 days. The case was reassigned to Judge Michael Beckloff earlier this week. The new Godzilla movie, from director Gareth Edwards and starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins, opens May 14.
Related: Legendary “Confident” Of ‘Godzilla’ Lawsuit Outcome Despite Appeals Court Loss
Read More »
With mere weeks until the big guy is back in theaters May 16, the Godzilla battle between Legendary Pictures and producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison over the upcoming Warner Bros-released reboot looks more likely than ever to be heading to trial. A California Appeals Court judge today rejected Legendary’s attempt to have the matter dealt with in private arbitration (read it here). Justice Judith Ashmann-Gerst said that “substantial evidence supports the trial court’s finding that the parties never had a written agreement to arbitrate their dispute.” On January 9 last year, Legendary filed a complaint to remove Lin, Lee and Davison from the blockbuster project with a puny $25,000 payout. According to Legendary, the tiny sum was all the three were entitled to under the March 2011 Producer Loan Agreement between them and the company. Today’s ruling was in response to a May 10, 2013 ruling by Judge Abraham Khan of the LA Superior Court denying Legendary’s desire for arbitration in the potentially multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Godzilla’
Not that Legendary is breaking a sweat publicly after fighting so hard to keep things behind closed doors. “The Court of Appeals decision today decided nothing more than where Legendary’s dispute with Roy Lee and Dan Lin will be litigated,” the company’s lawyer Dale Kinsella said today after the ruling. “Irrespective of the location of the forum, Legendary is confident it will prevail on the merits of the case, for which this recent ruling has no bearing whatsoever. Kinsella is with Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP. (UPDATE, 2:59 PM - “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has agreed with our legal and factual position,” said the three producers’ lawyer Stanton L. Stein in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our case in a court of law before a jury. We are confident the jury will find in our favor.”) Read More »
Dan Lin produced The Lego Movie with Roy Lee for Warner Bros, but he will cede the stage this Sunday to his 9-year-old son Miles. The kid persuaded his father to allow him to organize a charity screening, with tickets at $50 a pop, to get an early peek at the family film. Miles is raising funds for the foundation he started, I Dream Of Fish (check out the website here), devoted to building aquaponic fish farms in India and Africa. The screening is at the Vista Theater in Los Feliz, and I was charmed enough to give the kid a chance to pitch his cause because, after all, what 9-year-old do you know who thinks this way?
“My name is Miles Lin and I am 9 years old. I fell in love with fish when I was only 3 years old. It is my passion — all I live for. But my parents taught me that my passions are not only meant for myself, but also for the rest of the world. I tried to think about how I could use fish to help the world and started researching fish farms. But sadly, I found out fish farms weren’t very sustainable. Then I learned about aquaponics and sustainable fish farming and got really excited. Aquaponics uses a system of fish on the bottom, gardens on top. The dirty fish water gives nutrition to the garden above. It’s pretty amazing actually. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures has made a new two-year overall deal with Warner Bros TV. Under the pact, the company will continue to develop drama and comedy projects for broadcast and cable. Lin TV’s head of television Jennifer Gwartz has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In her new position, she will continue to head the company’s development while also helping Lin oversee the overall management of Lin Pictures in both features and television. During their previous overall deal with WBTV, Lin and Gwartz developed and executive produced two projects that went to pilot, hourlong drama Secret Lives Of Wives at Lifetime starring Kim Raver and Salli Richardson; and single-camera comedy The Assistants, starring Catherine O’Hara, Stephen Root, and Brittany Snow, which was in serious contention for a series pickup at Fox this past season and remains alive. Read More »
The legal battle between Legendary Pictures and producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison over the Godzilla reboot seems more and more certain to be headed to trial. “We’re not interested in arbitration, we want a jury to hear this case”, said the producers’ lawyer Stanton L. Stein in a hearing today in LA Superior Court. With his clients Lee and Lin looking on, Stein made clear that a jury trial is still his goal despite an agreement today by all parties to pursue mediation. “I understand why they don’t want public scrutiny of this case. I understand why they don’t want their behavior being made public”, he added of Legendary’s efforts to have the case moved to private arbitration.
Back in January dueling suits were filed between the producers and Legendary after the studio sought to remove them from the project with a tiny $25,000 payout. The trio countered with a cross complaint January 17 accusing Legendary of breach of contract. Lin, Lee and Davison are seeking millions in compensatory damages, screen credit, and participation in sequels, prequels, or further remakes. As this legal tussle continues, Godzilla is currently in production in Vancouver with the movie set for a May 16, 2014 release.
Related: ‘Godzilla’ Adds Ken Watanabe, But What About Those Producers? Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has emerged from a three-studio bidding battle with screen rights to remake the Korean crime film New World. The deal was mid six-figures and the film will be produced by Roy Lee and Dan Lin, with Jon Silk and John Powers Middleton exec producing. The script will be written by Will Fetters, who has been on fire at Warner Bros. He has scripted the Clint Eastwood-directed remake of A Star Is Born, as well as Crazy For The Storm for Sean Penn to direct, and he most recently rewrote the Nicholas Sparks novel The Best Of Me.
The original film was written and directed by Park Hoon-jung, who scripted I Saw The Devil and The Unjust. New World has parallels to The Departed, on which Lee was exec producer and Lin was development exec. After a mob boss is gunned down, an outright battle ensues among several mobsters who want to succeed him. One of them is an undercover cop. The pic just got released. Read More »
UPDATE, 1 PM:: I can understand why Godzilla is trying to shed producers, because there are plenty. Mary Parent is about done with a deal to come aboard on the producer roster. Parent, whose Disruption banner is based at Paramount, takes the job after working closely with Legendary on the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 8:42 AM: As it stomps its way toward a March production start, Godzilla has two significant developments in the offing. Frank Darabont, who veered into genre territory by launching the AMC series The Walking Dead, has been hired by producer-financier Legendary Pictures to do a final rewrite on the script that was written by The Seventh Son scribe Max Borenstein.
At the same time, Warner Bros-based producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee, who were among the producers who came into Legendary with a Toho rights deal for the iconic reptile, are in a huge battle with the financier-producer. Legendary, which now controls the rights, wants to drop the producers from the film. As it stands right now, the 3D picture will be produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, along with Brian Rogers, the latter of whom was on the ground floor of the Toho deal. The film will be directed by Monsters helmer Gareth Edwards and has been dated for May 16, 2014 release. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off co-writing Trance for director Danny Boyle, Joe Ahearne has sold an untitled supernatural thriller pitch to Warner Bros. Dan Lin will produce under his Lin Pictures banner. Lin’s veep Jon Silk came up with an idea they are keeping under wraps and Ahearne expanded it before they pitched it to the studio and came away with a deal. Silk will be co-producer and WB’s Matt Cherniss is overseeing it. It’s the British writer’s second deal with Warner Bros, which recently hired him to rewrite Elf Quest for Rawson Thurber to direct. Thurber wrote the original draft. Ahearne will write Elf Quest and start the new pitch at the same time.
Trance, which stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson, is currently in production in London. Boyle will complete the shoot, then put it down to focus on directing the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He’ll then pick Trance back up and complete the picture. Ahearne, who wrote the feature script with John Hodge, wrote and directed the 2001 BBC telepic that Trance is based on. Ahearne also created the British vampire miniseries Ultraviolet that starred Idris Elba and Stephen Moyer, and Apparitions. He’s repped by ICM and Principal Entertainment, as well as UK-based United Agents.
Here’s an interesting one to ponder on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Warner Bros is courting Steven Spielberg to direct Gods and Kings, an epic-sized film about life of Moses. There haven’t been formal meetings yet, but Spielberg has read the script by Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine. Getting Spielberg is a long shot on any film because his deal is complex, his dance card is always full, and Warner Bros would have to be willing to share the picture with DreamWorks. Still, I’ve heard there will be a discussion. Gods and Kings covers the life of Moses from birth to death. In between, there is his awakening to the plight of the Hebrew slaves that led Moses’ struggle against the Pharaoh for their freedom out of Egypt; the Ten Plagues; the Burning Bush; the daring escape across the Red Sea; receiving the Ten Commandments, and delivery to Israel. The film is not a Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A 2006 segment from Ira Glass’ This American Life radio program is being turned into a comedy series. Fox has bought a multi-camera comedy pitch based on the “Deal of a Lifetime” segment of the documentary program, with Horrible Bosses co-writer Jonathan Goldstein writing and Dan Lin producing. Titled The Man Upstairs, the comedy centers on a young woman who buys a house that is advertised as a “deal of a lifetime,” but there’s one catch: the house comes along with the elderly man who owns it. The project will be produced by Warner Bros TV and Lin’s studio-based production company. Last month, Lin launched a TV division of his Lin Pictures, tapped Jennifer Gwartz to run it and signed an overall deal with Warner Bros TV. Goldstein, Lin and Gwartz will executive produce The Man Upstairs, with Glass and This American Life producer Alissa Shipp, who brought the idea to Lin, serving as executive consultants. The project reunites Lin and Glass, who worked together on Warner Bros Pictures’ 2006 feature Unaccompanied Minors, which was based on another This American Life story; Lin oversaw the film as SVP Production at the studio. In addition to co-writing Horrible Bosses, which has grossed more than $200 million worldwide, Goldstein has worked on a slew of comedy series, most recently $#*! My Dad Says. In “Deal of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After testing the TV waters last season, feature producer Dan Lin is putting down small-screen roots, forming a television division of his company Lin Pictures and signing an overall deal with Warner Bros Television. Veteran TV development executive/producer Jennifer Gwartz has been tapped to run the new division, which is looking to develop drama and comedy projects with aspirational, uplifting stories that are often associated with Lin-produced features. Additionally, Gwartz, who also has feature background having worked on such movies as Scream, Copland, Lethal Weapon 4 and The Matrix, will work closely Lin’s feature development team.
Last season was Lin’s first in television. Through a first-look deal with Warner Bros TV, an extension to his his Warner Bros production deal on the feature side, he sold three projects: Poe, written by Chris Hollier, and Teach, written by Rina Mimoun, to ABC; and Mavericks, written by Gary Scott Thompson, to Fox. One of them, Poe, went to pilot. Gwartz is probably best known for her frequent collaborations with writer-producer Rob Thomas, most recently serving as executive producer on his Fox/WBTV comedy pilot Little In Common, which continues to be in strong contention for a midseason pickup. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is rebooting its 1992 hit The Bodyguard, the film that paired Kevin Costner with Whitney Houston and became for its time one of the biggest global hits in studio history with a $411 million worldwide gross.
The film will be scripted by Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer, whose action comedy script Family Getaway made the 2010 Black List and is a priority project at Warner Bros. Dan Lin will produce through his Lin Pictures banner, and Mark Bauch is co-producer.
Scripted by Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Mick Jackson, the original was a fairly straight ahead tale of a Secret Service agent (Costner in a Steve McQueen homage, down to his hairstyle) drafted to protect a singing diva whose life has been threatened by a stalker, then falling for her in a way he fears is a distraction from his job. The new version is similar, including the love story, but here the bodyguard will be a former Iraq war veteran who gets the job protecting the star as his first gig after leaving the Army. He discovers that the world of Twitter, Google Maps and TMZ has made access to celebrities easier than ever, making the job more difficult than ever. The goal is to take a young female singer with global appeal and give her the platform that The Bodyguard did Houston.
It becomes the second music-driven remake for the studio, which just got a commitment from Clint … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: On second thought, no bunny jokes. But Warner Brothers has bought the new spec script The Rabbit – “think Midnight Run”, I’m told — written by Micah Barnett. Chris Tucker is starring and Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes ) is producing. The sale was handled by WME.
Sam Worthington is attached to star in Dan Dare, a big-budget movie version of the English science-fiction character. Dare was hugely popular in Britain in the 50s, appearing each week in the Eagle comic. Jut-jawed Dare, aided by his tubby sidekick Digby, would fight the evil Mekon week after week in its pages. Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road is producing, with Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) and Colin Frewin executive producing.
Frewin has produced a screen version of Dan Dare before. Back in 2002 he produced a dreadful CGI cartoon that aired on Five and Sony TV distributed internationally. I remember going to the launch party. There, the weird assortment of guests included model Sophie Dahl and British radio institution Sir Terry Wogan (71). And that’s the problem. Dan Dare means a huge amount to those who grew up in the 50s. Sixty-something Englishmen will no doubt be thanking Warner Bros with tears of gratitude. I doubt anybody else remembers who Dan Dare is.