It looks like the Mad Max: Fury Road director is furious at Warner Bros. A Sydney Morning Herald report finds series mastermind George Miller suing the studio over an unpaid $7 million dollar bonus owed to his production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell, which he co-runs with producing partner Doug Mitchell. The dispute is being litigated in the Supreme Court of New South Wales where Kennedy Miller Mitchell is based, rather than the U.S., and revolves around whether it was the studio or Miller’s fault for budget overruns. It is unknown if the suit will have an effect on future Mad Max films.
“On [Warner Bros’] calculations, ‘Mad Max’ went over budget,” Justice David Hammerschlag said. “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,” said Miller and Mitchell in a 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.”
“We disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims,” Warner Bros. responded.
Made for a budget north of $150 million, Mad Max: Fury Road began production in 2012, but due to a series of delays and lengthy reshoots wasn’t released until three years later in Summer 2015. It grossed over $378 million worldwide, was a critical darling (97% on Rotten Tomatoes) and was nominated for 10 Oscars (including Best Picture), receiving six. There has been talk of at least two more films in the Mad Max cycle, with stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron game to return, and Miller has also been rumored for other directing assignments on the Warner Bros. lot, including Man of Steel 2 and Green Lantern Corps. He has a long history with the studio dating back to 1981 when they distributed The Road Warrior, a.k.a. Mad Max 2. Other films he’s made for Warner Bros. include Twilight Zone: The Movie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, The Witches of Eastwick, and the two Happy Feet films. Last month, Miller put the historic art deco Metro theatre in Sydney, his production headquarters for three decades, up for sale after his relocation to Fox Studios Australia.
Mad Max: Fury Road, which opened in May of 2015, is the story of Max Rockatansky, played by Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises). Within this world of fire and blood exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max (Hardy), a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos and Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland. A Mad Max prequel might show us her life in The Green Place before she started working for Immortan Joe.
Mad Max: Fury Road also stars Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Mad Max, Sleeping Beauty), Nathan Jones (Conan the Barbarian, Troy), Zoe Kravitz (Divergent, X-Men: First Class), Riley Keough (The Runaways, Magic Mike) and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Age of Extinction).