Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller is taking Warner Bros. to court. The helmer claims the studio owes his production company, Kennedy Miller Mitchell, which he co-runs with producing partner Doug Mitchell, an unpaid $7 million. Under the terms of the contract, the $7 million was only owed if the film didn't go over budget. The film did indeed go over budget. The question is: Was it Miller's fault for the film overspending? If so, the studio owes him nothing. The dispute is being litigated in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
“On [Warner Bros’] calculations, Mad Max went over budget,” Justice David Hammerschlag said (via The Sydney Morning Herald). “If these calculations are right, [Kennedy Miller Mitchell] does not get a bonus. [But the production company] claims [Warner Bros] made a series of decisions which caused substantial changes and delays to Mad Max, which led to additional costs and expenses and that [the studio] wrongly took them into account in its over-budget calculation. If those costs are left out of account [Kennedy Miller Mitchell] says that Mad Max came in under budget.”
“After all the hard work and success of the film, the studio failed to honour its obligations,” Miller and Mitchell said in a join statement. “Simply put, we are owed substantial earnings for diligent and painstaking work which spanned over 10 years in development of the script and preparation and three years in production of the movie. That hard work resulted in a picture which found wide acclaim globally. We would much prefer to be making movies with Warner Bros than litigating with them but, after trying for over a year, we were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution and have now had to resort to a law suit to sort things out.”
Warner Bros. responded, “We disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims."
Created on an estimated budget north of $150 million, Mad Max: Fury Road kicked off production in 2012, but wasn't released until 2015 due to various delays and reshoots. It made over $378 million worldwide, and walked away with six Oscars, including a nomination for Best Picture. The film stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.