Following the huge critical success and middling commercial performance of 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, there was lots of talk about writer/director George Miller pressing ahead with a further Mad Max adventure. And yet, to date, there’s been no sign of it happening. And now we learn why.
Miller is in dispute with Warner Bros over the earnings from the last movie, to the point where his production company – Kennedy Miller Mitchell – is heading to court over the matter.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, the deal to bring Mad Max: Fury Road to the screen was set to see Kennedy Miller Mitchell earn a $7 million bonus if production costs on the movie were no more than $157 million, after ‘certain costs were excluded from calculations’. Furthermore, should Warner Bros seek another co-financier, that Kennedy Miller Mitchell be given first refusal on that.
Things went legal back in September, with Warner Bros reportedly arguing that Mad Max: Fury Road went over budget, thus meaning that Kennedy Miller Mitchell lost its bonus entitlement. However, the counter argument is that Warner Bros ‘made a series of decisions which caused substantial changes and delays to Mad Max, which led to additional costs and expenses’. Those, contend the legalities, have skewed the figures. Warner Bros also opted, it’s reported, for a co-financing deal with RatPac Entertainment, rather than giving Kennedy Miller Mitchell first refusal.
A statement from Miller and Mitchell read that “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, for its part, says “we disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims”.
The case, therefore, continues. And for moviegoers, this explains the absence of a further Mad Max movie. Until legal battles are over, another sequel is highly unlikely to move forward.