FAST AND FURIOUS Producer Sues Universal Pictures over HOBBS AND SHAW Spinoff Film
Sheesh! This Fast and Furious spinoff film Hobbs and Shaw has caused a lot of drama since it was announced! It caused heated issues between Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Tyrese Gibson.
Now Fast and Furious producer Neal Moritz is looking to cause a little drama of his own. He is suing Universal Pictures over the film for “breach of oral contract and promissory fraud over being tossed out the door of the spinoff led by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.”
In the lawsuit filed with Los Angeles Superior Court, it says, “This case presents a classic example of Hollywood greed.” Basically, Moritz wants to be reinstated as lead producer on Hobbs and Shaw, which recently started shooting, or be paid out “tens of millions dollars in damages in lost compensation” from the studio. The complaint says:
“In an extraordinary show of bad faith, and just a few days before filming was set to begin on Hobbs and Shaw, Universal took the position that Moritz either had to amend his oral producer deal to accept substantially inferior financial terms, or be cut out of the Picture altogether. Remarkably, despite Moritz having complete Pay-or-Play protection on all of his last several deals on the FF Franchise and having relied on Universal’s oral promises, Universal also took the extraordinary position that it was free to exploit Moritz’s ideas for Hobbs and Shaw, and his work product over an approximately year-and-a-half period, without honoring its oral producer agreement.”
The court filling goes on to say that, “Indeed, Universal has claimed that it can move forward with Hobbs and Shaw without providing Moritz with any credit or compensation.” Then adds, “If Universal believes that it can treat one of its most successful producers with such extraordinary bad faith, one can only imagine how Universal treats its lesser established producers.”
Apparently, the initial pitch for Hobbs and Shaw between Universal Pictures president Jimmy Horowitz and writer Chris Morgan resulted in verbal deal in which Moritz was supposed to receive “$2 million in fixed compensation applicable against a 6% first dollar gross participation.” That “participation would be reducible with all other first dollar gross proceeds participation on a pro rata basis, along with a defined Over Budget Adjustment provision, which was the first dollar gross compensation option in the FF8-10 Agreement.” Then the studio changed things up on him right before the film started shooting.
They all believed that the deal was solid. I’m actually pretty surprised that big producers and studios like this are still making verbal deals! You’d think they’d want to protect themselves by signing contracts! It’s not surprising that people in Hollywood are trying to screw each other over. They’ve been doing it for years!
The lawsuit isn’t going to effect the production of the film. It will move forward and will be released on August 11th, 2019. But, you can bet that this lawsuit is going to leave bad blood between Moritz and the studio.