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 »
There have been glimpses and teasers of the rebooted monster but today the first full-blown trailer of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros’ Godzilla has dropped. Helmed by Gareth Edwards and featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins, Godzilla hits the big screen on May … Read More »
Universal’s May comedy Neighbors, David Gordon Green’s Nic Cage starrer Joe, and Mike Myers’ directorial debut docu Supermensch are just a few of the newly announced titles set to screen at SXSW 2014, which debuted its full Features line-up today. They join previously announced opener Chef, from Jon Favreau, the world premiere of the Veronica Mars movie in a slate packed with over 115 features, 76 world premieres, 10 North American premieres, including the latest films from Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Dance of Reality), Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Nacho Vigalondo (Open Windows), a special screening of 1954′s original Gojira with Q&A with Godzilla remake helmer Gareth Edwards, and a rare Texas appearance by UT grad Wes Anderson who will present his new film Grand Budapest Hotel in an extended Q&A session.
Related: Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’ To Open SXSW; ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie Among Premieres
In recent years SXSW has increased its television-focused programming, debuting SXSW alum Lena Dunham‘s Girls in 2012 and presenting a Bates Motel panel in 2013. This year the Austin film fest is introducing an entire Episodic programming section devoted to small screen works. In addition to a previously announced screening of Fox’s COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Episodic section will include Hulu and Lionsgate TV’s supernatural comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine with cast and crew Q&A, a screening of El Rey and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn pilot, AMC’s 1980s-set computer drama Halt and Catch Fire, Showtime’s John Logan-created Penny Dreadful, and HBO’s new sitcom Silicon Valley co-created by Mike Judge. Read More »
One in a series of Deadline stories that look back on 2013 and ahead to 2014.
It was a year that saw the Weinsteins and Warner Bros clash over the title of The Butler and then get into the ring again for The Hobbitsequels. 2013 also witnessed the first fired Walking Dead showrunner wanting to take a bite out ofAMC for his piece of the cable blockbuster, a Ray Donovan EP nailed by the feds in a big-time gambling scheme right out of the Showtime Hollywood fixer series and a monster of a legal drama in the making as Legendary Pictures tried to swat some seasoned producers off its Godzilla reboot. In the end, with those cases and more, the Hollywood legal landscape of 2013 proved to be a stringent reminder of why they call it show business and not show friends.
With money and rights at the basis of most of the disputes, the complaints and motions were as numerous as locusts and as prevalent as rats, with many of them spilling over into 2014 and perhaps beyond. Just ask Barry Diller and Les Moonves as streaming service Aereo and CBS and other broadcasters suit up for a potential Supreme Court winner-takes-all showdown next year. Or Prospect Park as it fights ABC in a $125 million suit over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live while having to contend with a complaint from co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz seeking a declaratory judgment from the court over non-compete clauses in his contract with the company. Sure, sometimes weapons are lowered like when Paramount and asset management firm Content Partners reached an undisclosed settlement on December 12 in their $45 million film financing slate dust-up after three years going at it in the courts. With a pivotal hearing looming, that was realpolitik in action as the sudden deal allowed the studio to sidestep dragging JPMorgan Chase, which corporate parent Viacom has significant banking dealings with, into the protracted case despite the blessing of the presiding judge. However, with the grinding duration of a lot of the legal disputes in this town, such resolution is rare, even when the end seems in sight.
Look for instance at Warner Bros and the seemingly never-ending Superman heirs’ rights battle. After a string of seemingly conclusive legal wins this year, WB and subsidiary DC Comics now could face more Krypton courtroom drama in 2014. On December 10, the co-creators heirs’ attorneys Marc Toberoff and Keith G. Adams petitioned the 9th Circuit for either a rehearing by the panel that found in the studio’s favor on November 21 or by the full court itself. If that effort fails, they could take the matter to the SCOTUS. Even with all the billings that O’Melveny & Myers get to make to WB after years of litigation, the sharp-elbowed Daniel Petrocelli and Matthew Kline must want to be able to declare a super-lawyer victory and move on – after all, they also have the Trouble With The Curve copyright suit to handle for the studio and a February 24 hearing on a summary judgment motion in that case by plaintiffs Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions to fend off. Read More »
The movie isn’t out until May 2014 but Legendary Pictures tonight provided a glimpse in San Diego at what their Godzilla is going to look like. And while not a scene from the movie itself, you … Read More »
Less than a week before their Hall H panel, Legendary today rolled out a Comic-Con message from Gareth Edwards from the set of the monster movie reboot. The Godzilla helmer says the company has … Read More »
The official schedule isn’t out until tomorrow, but expect a big July 20 presence from Legendary at Comic-Con this year. Even with the split … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: Signing an exclusive first look deal with The Weinstein Company, Cary Woods is making his way back. Back to the features game, back with Harvey Weinstein, and back from a near death experience that took almost two years of recovery. In the 1990s, Woods was a charming dealmaker with relentless optimism who was one of the producers on Godzilla (the disappointing 1998 version), and who launched a lot of new talent with Weinstein at Disney-owned Miramax. His films there included launching the Wes Craven-directed and Kevin Williamson-scripted Scream franchise, the Larry Clark-directed Harmony Korine-scripted Kids, Korine’s directing debut Gummo, Doug Liman’s Swingers, James Mangold’s Cop Land and Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth. They fell out over a deal extension that was as bruising as feuds with Weinstein tended to be back then. Woods calls that water under the bridge. It’s understandable he would be more zen about life; he considers himself lucky to be alive after getting hit by a truck and taking about two years to find his way back.
Woods suffered the trauma when he was in London for his son’s sixth birthday party in late 2010. The 60 broken bones and shattered face wasn’t the worst part; he lapsed into a coma and was given a 30% chance to survive, he told me. Murderball helmer Henry Alex Rubin, whom Woods hired as a 19-year old PA on Cop Land, was invited to the party because he was shooting a commercial nearby. “He called my best friend, who is my ex-wife, who flew there immediately,” Woods said. “They told her I had 30% chance to live and that I was going to be out of it for about two years. And it turned out to be close to that. My ex let me hole up in her home, where I slept 18 hours a day.” 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: Sally Hawkins has nabbed the final lead role in Godzilla, the monster movie that Legendary and Warner Bros kicked off shooting last week … Read More »
Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures today announced final principal casting for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, which begins filming today in Vancouver. Ken Watanabe, repped by WME and ROAR, joins Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston in the reboot that is slated for a 3D release on May 16, 2014. Edwards is helming from a script by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont, and Dave Callaham. But the producer roll call is where things get awkward: Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are confirmed as producing with Mary Parent and Brian Rogers, but there’s no mention of Roy Lee, Dan Lin, and Doug Davison, the trio of producers who were iced out of the project they claim they brought to Legendary in the first place. Back in January dueling suits were filed between the trio and Legendary after the studio sought to remove them from the project with a mere $25,000 payout. Lee, Lin, and Davison countered with their own cross complaint accusing Legendary of breach of contract and seeking millions in compensatory damages, screen credit, and participation in sequels, prequels, or further remakes or compensation thereof. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures is eyeing Kick-Ass star Aaron-Taylor Johnson to star in Godzilla, the Gareth Edwards-directed reboot of the franchise based on the iconic Japanese reptile. I’m told that Johnson, who starred in the Oliver Stone-directed … Read More »
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 … 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 »
BREAKING: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have set their reboot on the Godzilla franchise for May 16, 2014. And it will be in 3D. The move was made by studio domestic distribution president Dan Fellman and international distribution … Read More »
Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
For the Warner Bros/Legendary panel Comic-Con‘s big screen expanded to Cinerama proportions to impress fans with Pacific Rim and Godzilla teases while Man of Steel moved at least one fan to tears. For good measure, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey footage mixed familiar and new. Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, dressed as David Tennant’s Doctor Who, moderated what was probably the most anticipated panel of the convention. He came in with a Sonic Screwdriver remote control, and suddenly two extra giant side screens were revealed as the black curtains peeled back. (Sort of like the Terminator 3D screen at Universal Studios.) This feels like what Cinerama was always supposed to be.
Related: Comic-Con: ‘Act Of Valor’s Scott Waugh To Helm ‘Hawken’
Legendary’s Thomas Tull came onstage, saying that his having a mic up there was a sign of the apocalypse, then briefly showed off how all the screens worked together for a Pacific Rim tease (metallic panels, serial numbers, vague sketches of pods – a mere taste for what was coming). Then Guillermo del Toro came out to say, in his inimitable, profane-comic fashion, “I’m shitting in my pants right now.” As he spoke and was pictured on the center screen, production designs and on-set footage flanked him on the side screens. He said it was important to have a sense of romantic adventure — not a war movie. And that it was important to have a sense of awe in a movie with giant robots and monsters. Del Toro said this will be the only thing shown until Christmas, and that this footage was just for us at Comic-con. Admonished “you motherfuckers with the James Bond cameras in the glasses, take them off.”
Related:Seth MacFarlane Says “I’d Be Open To Making Ted 2″: Comic-Con
There was a huge reaction for Charlie Day coming out, and Ron Perlman (only in cavernous Hall H). Charlie Hunnam and Rink Kikuchi followed. Cheers for them too, but not quite as extra loud. How does Perlman feel about coming to Comic-Con? “It’s a miracle I’m still invited.” He says Guillermo’s standards are clearly plummeting since he keeps inviting Perlman back. Read More »