Mad Max: Fury Road

Well, sad news for everyone who loved George Miller’s most recent addition to the ‘Mad Max’ franchise, ‘Fury Road.’ It seems we may never get to see any sequels.  Miller is currently involved in a legal battle with Warner Bros over the franchise and the profits from ‘Fury Road,’ which means nothing can move forward on any sequels until the whole thing is sorted out. In a statement made last November, Miller and his producing partner Doug Mitchell said:

“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.”

According to the Syndey Morning Herald, Miller and Mitchell’s lawsuit is making the following claims against Warner Bros:

  • 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.

The Sydney Morning Herald also lists the counter-suit claims made by Warner Bros against Miller and Mitchell’s production company, Kennedy Mitchell Miller:

  • 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.

When asked what he is doing while the legal battles are being fought, Miller had the following to say, making sure to point out he is still working on his next films:

“There are a lot of options. I’m not sitting around grinding my teeth.”

Of course, that does not necessarily mean those films will take place in the ‘Mad Max’ universe, as that path will be determined by how the lawsuit plays out. Miller did say the following, though, about the ‘Mad Max: Fury Road‘ sequels:

“They’re there but that’s all I can say. That’s in the future.”

It is a sad state of affairs, especially since it all seems to boil down to a lot of “he said”- “she said” kind of business, and while I personally tend to side with the creatives in arguments like this, I cannot help but hope the two sides come to some sort of amicable agreement sometime soon so they can actually make those sequels, as it sounded like there was a lot of story Miller still had to tell in that world. And since the final film ended up being so incredible, I have a hard time believing that Warner Bros would be so bitter about things like an extended run-time or a rating they did not want, as I cannot imagine the film did not perform well at the box-office, or that they did not more than make their money back at the end of the day.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to share them in the comments below!