Every industry has contracts, which come in many varieties: written, oral, formal, informal…the list can go on. The film industry in particular has a long and storied history of contracts. This means that the industry also has a long and storied history of contract disputes. This week we are continuing our exploration of contract disputes in Hollywood. Read on to learn more about modern Hollywood contract disputes and how they ended.
Suit: George Miller Vs. Warner Brothers
George Miller is the author of the Mad Max series, which got a revamp in 2015 with Mad Max: Fury Road. The broad success of the movie inspired Miller to produce a sequel pretty quickly. However, there was a wrench thrown into the production’s wheels. Miller sued Warner Brothers for not paying him a bonus. The bonus was promised if the writer brought the movie in underbudget. The studio claimed the budget was exceeded, but Miller said that was due to flubs on their end. He claimed to have brought his part of the project in under budget.
There is no official update to this case. However, it does seem as though there is slow movement forward. Miller has said in the past few months that he is working on the sequel film. The new movie is tentatively titled Mad Max: The Wasteland.
Suit: Woody Allen Vs. Amazon
Woody Allen had a four-picture deal with Amazon for their film distribution services. As shooting concluded for the first of the four films, the #MeToo movement swept through Hollywood. The movement shone new light on allegations of sexual abuse against Allen by his stepdaughter.
In the wake of the movement, Amazon refused to distribute the film. Allen went after the megacorporation, guns ablaze. He filed a breach of contract suit for £52 million. A few months later, Amazon and Allen filed a joint motion to dismiss the suit. It’s hard to know who won in this situation, because Amazon foot the bill for the production. However, Allen’s film was largely panned, and he lost a few other potential deals in the process as well.
The Problem: Michael Jackson Estate Vs. HBO
The HBO documentary Leaving Neverland rocked the legacy of Michael Jackson, and not in a good way. An Emmy-winning sex scandal documentary is not exactly what most deceased celebrity’s estates want to deal with. This is especially true for the Michael Jackson, who dealt with these types of rumors in life.
HBO is actively fighting the Michael Jackson Estate’s attempts to access legal arbitration. The estate is clinging to a clause from an old contract signed with HBO in 1992. However, HBO is saying that the estate is stepping on their first amendment rights. The case is still ongoing, so there is no settlement as of yet.