Earlier this week, we told you that Legendary Pictures, the production company behind the latest American Godzilla reboot, was firing two of the movie's original producers. Those producers, it turns out, saw things differently, and things have spiraled into legal action that could put the future of the flick in jeopardy.
On Monday, we heard that Legendary was hoping to buy off producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee (along with, it turns out, producer Doug Davison) to keep them from working on the film past its March 2013 production start date. Legendary was hoping to let the producers go as part of a "pay-or-play" agreement that would get the producers some money up front but deny them any piece of the back-end cash earned by the picture.
But when they found out about it, Lin, Lee and Davison saw things differently and threatened to head to court to stop production on the film until all this could be sorted out. Legendary fired the first legal shot instead, hoping to resolve the contract dispute quickly with a lawsuit defending their right to boot the producers from the project.
Basically, the legal dispute is this: Legendary claims that they made an agreement back in March 2011 with Lin and Lee's respective production companies. The agreement allegedly said that Legendary could choose not to involve the producers if they were not "deemed to be engaged" in the film's production. According to Legendary, Lee, Lin and Davison were not engaged beyond the initial stages of the film's development.
"Defendants efforts on the project consisted only of introducing a screenwriter to Legendary and contributing notes to a screenplay which Legendary subsequently decided to not utilize," the lawsuit states. "Legendary judged that Defendants offered little to the ongoing production of the film, and that their likely role (if engaged) would not warrant the substantial fees and backend compensation that they could potentially earn as producers."
Legendary is hoping they can get out of the dispute with, "at most," a $25,000 development fee for Lin, Lee and Davison, and petitioned a California court to send the case to honor that 2011 agreement. We'll keep you updated on whether the court agrees or not, but in the meantime the big question for monster movie fans is how this will affect the Godzilla production. Will the flick get going by March? Stay tuned.