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 »
EXCLUSIVE: Julius Onah has been set by Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures to direct the David Koepp-scripted adaptation of the Marcus Sakey novel Brilliance, which Joe Roth and Palek Patel are producing along with Legendary. It’s got … Read More »
Here’s the new trailer for 300: Rise Of An Empire. The spinoff from the 2006 pic stars Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, David Wenham, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Igal Naor and Andrew Pleavin. This version shows Headey’s queen at what appears to be her … 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 »
Legendary Pictures and Universal closed deals with Lone Survivor star Ben Foster, Vikings‘ Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbel, Dominic Cooper and Rob Kazinsky to star in Warcraft, the live action adaptation of the Blizzard Entertainment … Read More »
Warner Bros has released a new trailer for 300: Rise Of An Empire. The Legendary Pictures follow-up to the 2006 pic focuses action on the sea as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) tries to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After turning the Jackie Robinson-Branch Rickey story 42 into a hit, Legendary Pictures is now targeting Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi for a feature film. Legendary has made a deal with All Is Lost and Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor to write with an eye to direct a feature about the coaching legend who led Green Bay to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles. Legendary, whose principal Thomas Tull is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a passionate pigskin fan, will produce the film with Mary Parent. She produced Pacific Rim and Godzilla for Legendary. Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser will be exec producers.
Chandor, who made his feature directing debut on his Oscar-nominated script Margin Call, is once again in the awards season conversation for his follow-up All Is Lost, which stars Robert Redford as a man struggling to survive on the open seas. Chandor is casting up his next directorial outing, A Most Violent Year, which will star Jessica Chastain with production to begin early next year.
He has already begun writing the new film, and Legendary has assembled a rights package that includes a deal with the Lombardi estate, as well as the Broadway play written by Eric Simonson that starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light. That play was based on the David Marannis book When Pride Still Mattered, and that is also part of the package. Read More »
Oscar season is in full swing and is dominating attention, but the most important discussions taking place in town are being done with bankers in back rooms as heavyweight producers and co-financiers move around and will dramatically shape the future of studio event film slates for years to come. The players in the drama still to formalize landing places are Jeff Robinov and Graham King, Jerry Bruckheimer, John LaViolette and Joseph M. Singer’s Blue Anchor Entertainment. This after Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures left Warner Bros for Universal, and was replaced by Brett Ratner, James Packer and Steve Mnuchin’s RatPac Dune, which will co-finance the slates of Warner Bros going forward. Two of the next big moves seem to squarely involve Sony Pictures, whose heads Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal head into investor meetings on the Sony lot in Culver City on Thursday with some pending alliances that will greatly reshape their operations.
Related: Sony Hires Consultant To Find $100M In Showbiz Cost Cuts
The above players will be dealing in billions of dollars of production financing. RatPac Dune’s Ratner, Packer and Mnuchin fell into a right-place-at-the-right time windfall just as its Warner Bros deal commenced, and got kissed into Gravity as its first film. That put the venture off to a flying start as the film crossed the $500 million worldwide gross mark. I hear that Tull and Legendary might well get that deal underway in high style by co-financing Universal’s surefire blockbuster Jurassic World, though studio insiders said I’m getting ahead of myself because there is not yet a shooting script to show Legendary. While the RatPac Dune deal covers Warner Bros’ full slate, Tull gets to cherry-pick the films Legendary will co-finance, and the deal calls for a big Universal commitment on films that Legendary generates. This deal was papered by Uni president Jimmy Horowitz and chased aggressively by NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke as well as Donna Langley.
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BREAKING: Legendary Pictures has made a deal with accomplished second unit director Simon Crane to direct Hot Wheels. The financier/producer has also set Paul Attanasio to rewrite the script. The live action film is based on … Read More »
This marks the first film dated under the new partnership between Universal and Legendary Pictures. As of now Warcraft is going up against Sony’s Inferno on the December 18, 2015 date. Duncan Jones is … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, 10 AM: Here is the short list of actors going up for the other lead roles in Warcraft, the Legendary Pictures/Atlas Entertainment adaptation of the vidgame World Of Warcraft. I’m told that on the short list is Paul Dano, fresh from the weekend openers Prisoners; Travis Fimmel, a revelation as the star of the History Channel series Vikings; Anson Mount, who stars in the AMC series Hell on Wheels; and Star Trek‘s Anton Yelchin. Paula Patton is in advanced negotiations and Colin Farrell has been offered one of the leads.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, SUNDAY PM: Legendary Pictures and Atlas Entertainment are casting up Warcraft, the movie adaptation of the hit Blizzard video game World Of Warcraft that Duncan Jones will direct. I’m told that Paula Patton is negotiating for a lead role and that another lead has been offered to Colin Farrell. I’m not sure that Farrell is going to make a deal — sources said it’s 50/50 — and Jones is testing other actors for the major roles. Production will begin in January and Charles Leavitt wrote the script.
The role-playing game takes place in a medieval-like setting where players control avatars that take on gryphons, dragons, zombies, werewolves and elves. Time travel and alien worlds also are part of the mix. The project is one of Legendary’s biggest and was supposed to be made at Warner Bros. Since Thomas Tull’s financing/production company moved over to Universal Pictures, I expect the film to be located there as well. Read More »
The actor who played the villain in Thor, Avengers and the upcoming Thor sequel has joined Legendary Pictures‘ Guillermo del Toro-directed Crimson Peak, the company announced today. Tom Hiddleston will take over the role vacated late … Read More »
The Guillermo del Toro-directed robots vs. monsters movie may be doing monster box office in China, but an officer in the People’s Liberation Army is no fan. “Hollywood has always been the best American propaganda machine,” wrote … Read More »
Benedict Cumberbatch has dropped out of Guillermo Del Toro‘s gothic horror pic Crimson Peak, about a woman who discovers that her new husband is not who he claims to be. Sources say Cumberbatch’s very recent exit is not due to scheduling conflicts with the … Read More »
BREAKING: Seventh Son, the Sergei Bedrov-directed fantasy that stars Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, is on the move. The film, backed by Legendary Pictures, is moving away from Warner Bros and will be released by Universal Pictures, where Legendary’s Thomas … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures has closed a deal with Sean O’Keefe to adapt The Esperanza Fire, based on the John Maclean book about a wildland fire started by an arsonist that killed a tightly knit forest service engine crew that bravely battled the blaze. Maclean, the son of A River Runs Through It author Norman Maclean, was an investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune who has written several books around wildfire disasters. This one described the equivalent of ‘The Perfect Storm’ of wildland blazes. The firefighters who perished were pillars of their community, which was devastated by their deaths. An “area ignition” that took the lives of the men resulted in the first conviction of a wildland arsonist for first-degree murder and the death penalty. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATED: I’ve just learned that momentum is building for a Pacific Rim sequel based on the international box office for the Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros summer tentpole. The latest development is the 3D … Read More »
NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke made his observations this morning in Comcast‘s Q2 conference call with analysts as he discussed his company’s approach to films following its new production and finance partnership with Legendary Entertainment. Burke … Read More »