New details have emerged on the Mad Max: Fury Road lawsuit that is holding back potential sequels. Mad Max creator and director George Miller first conceived of Fury Road in the early 2000's and was even set to film an early version of the movie with original star Mel Gibson in 2003. That version of the production collapsed, however, yet Miller struggled for nearly a decade to get the movie produced.
His hard work paid off, with Mad Max: Fury Road becoming a big hit, in addition to being showered with praise and earning 10 Academy Award nominations, and going on to win in six categories. The film was hailed as a modern classic upon release, and Charlize Theron's Furiosa proved so popular fans started asking for a spinoff with the character. Miller spent so long developing Fury Road he wrote scripts for two more Max adventures, with the fifth movie tentatively being labelled The Wasteland. Unfortunately, Miller and the studio soon became locked in a nasty battle over an unpaid bonus, stalling progress on future movies.
Miller's production company was due to receive a $9 million bonus and a share of the proceeds if Mad Max: Fury Road was delivered under its agreed $157 million budget; Miller claims any cost overruns were due to studio interference. New details on the case have arrived in an article from The Sydney Morning Herald, further highlighting the issues between director and studio.
The studio claims the final cost of Mad Max: Fury Road came to $185.1 million, and their contract with Miller's company required a 100-minute, PG-13 movie, not a 120-minute R-rated one. Miller counters that the studio insisted certain scripted scenes not be shot – including some set around Immortan Joe's Citadel – before insisting they be added back during later reshoots, a decision which added tens of millions to the final cost. Miller also states certain decisions made by the studio caused needless delays to the production.
Mad Max: Fury Road was a notably tough shoot on cast & crew, and it took nearly three years from the time it started filming in 2012 for it to reach screens in 2015. There were reports during this time of Warner Bros. being concerned about the cost of the movie, and it seems both sides in the case argue the other was at fault. There was also much debate on whether the movie would be R or PG-13 prior to release, but given the grittiness of the action and material, the harder rating served the movie better.
Mad Max: Fury Road is (arguably) considered the best in the series, and while it would be great to get Miller back in the driver's seat for at least one more movie - or a Furiosa solo adventure – the dispute between him and the studio means it likely won't happen for a few more years - if at all.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald