We May Never See Any MAD MAX Sequels Because Director George Miller is Locked in a Legal Battle With Warner Bros.
I've got some bad news for all of you Mad Max fans. Like you, I've been waiting for the news that director George Miller's sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road had been greenlit by the studio. The filmmaker already has scripts ready to go for two more Mad Max sequels! Unfortunately, it sounds like that may never happen because Miller is locked in a legal battle with the studio over Mad Max: Fury Road.
Three years after the movie was released and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, the director's production company, Kennedy Miller Mitchell, has claimed in a document filed in the Supreme Court of NSW that the studio acted in a "high-handed, insulting or reprehensible" manner.
The document goes on to claim that the relationship of trust between the studio and the production company was destroyed by "allegedly refusing to pay a bonus for delivering the movie under budget and breaching a co-financing agreement, they were unable to work together to make any further installments."
This kind of stuff makes me sad. I wish they would have been able to work out their differences so they could move forward with another Mad Max sequel. But that's probably not going to happen at this point. The documents filed in the case suggest extended conflict over the budget and what scenes should be shot, including the ending.
Here is what the George Miller's production company is claiming:
Warner Bros insisted certain scenes in the script not be shot - including those around Immortan Joe's Citadel - with new scenes instead and a new ending.
When Miller had a so-called "rough cut" of the movie, the studio made a series of decisions that caused "substantial changes and delays" to the production, including that the previously cut scenes and new ones be shot.
The studio directed there be at least 10 screenings of Fury Road and, after each one, requested further changes.
Warner Bros later approved a plan to shoot additional scenes costing $US31 million in late 2013, which required shipping vehicles back to Australia, reassembling the main cast and crew, re-creating an African set and extra post-production. And that these costs were to be excluded from the net cost of the movie.
The studio arranged for Ratpac-Dune Entertainment to co-finance the movie despite being contractually required to offer Kennedy Miller Mitchell the first opportunity if it was required.
In a cross-claim, this is what Warner Bros. alleged:
Fury Road "significantly exceeded the approved budget", with the extra costs largely caused by the production company, without the studio's written approval.
Production was delayed and costs had escalated during filming in 2012 to the point where, without the changes sought by the studio, the movie could not be completed on schedule for the approved budget.
The studio requested an alternative ending rather than insisting on it.
Kennedy Miller Mitchell agreed to fund some of the additional filming in 2013.
The release date was ultimately delayed by 14 months and the cost of production increased by $US31 million to $US185.1 million.
It sucks that it has come to this. There's so much more to be explored in the world of Mad Max, and I've been especially excited about seeing Furiosa's character explored more! After something like this, I doubt that these two parties will ever want to work with each other again.