Deadline is reporting that the producer of “Fast & Furious” Neals Moritz has taken Universal to court over the much-anticipated spinoff “Hobbs and Shaw” which is slated to open in the theatres next summer.
According to the media house, Moritz sued the studio yesterday for breach of oral contract and promissory fraud over being tossed out the door of the spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
“This case presents a classic example of Hollywood greed,” reads the filing made this morning in Los Angeles Superior Court by heavyweight attorney Dale Kinsella.
The summary of the lawsuit is that Moritz wants to be reinstated as lead producer on Hobbs and Shaw, which just started shooting, or be paid out “tens of millions dollars in damages in lost compensation” from the Comcast-owned studio.
The complaint read in part:
“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 20-page filing adds of the evolution of the multibillion-dollar box office franchise.
“Indeed, Universal has claimed that it can move forward with Hobbs and Shawwithout providing Moritz with any credit or compensation,” the document says, asserting that the veteran producer was essentially dropped September 7 after not agreeing to the significant reduction in his overall compensation that the studio seemingly sprung on him during then summer. “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.”
The complaint further added that frequent communications with Universal Pictures chair Langley and Universal Pictures president Jimmy Horowitz that began with the first Hobbs and Shaw pitch last spring with 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.”
Read the full complaint here.
This comes after news surfaced that Idris Elba was in final negotiations to play the main villain in “Hobbs and Shaw.”
The spinoff reportedly will be directed by Deadpool 2 director, David Leitch, with Johnson and Statham continuing their roles as special agent Luke Hobbs and criminal mastermind Deckard Shaw. The script is written by “Fast and Furious” architect Chris Morgan, and production is set to commence this fall.