18 Oct – "Hobbs and Shaw" keeps hitting one roadblock after another. This probably won't affect it much but the latest controversy to hit the "Fast and Furious" spinoff is a lawsuit.
Neal Moritz, producer of the action franchise, is suing Universal Pictures for breach of oral contract and promissory fraud following his ban from the production of the spinoff, Deadline reported.
The complaint stated that the idea for the Hobbs and Shaw-focused movie was developed by Moritz and screenwriter, Chris Morgan, after the principal photography of "Fast and Furious 8" wrapped.
Discussion on the project then begun with President of Universal Pictures, Jimmy Horowitz, after the idea was pitched to and well-received by Universal Pictures Chairman, Donna Langley, in spring 2017.
After settling on a verbal agreement with Universal on his cut of the project, Mortiz started developing the movie for over a year and a half with stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, who are reprising their roles as the titular Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, respectively, as well as with director David Leitch who boarded the project later on.
However, a few days before filming was to begin, Moritz was asked by the studio to either "amend his oral producer deal to accept substantially inferior financial terms, or be cut out of the Picture altogether".
The change to the financial terms was supposedly due to the increase in the production budget, but the lawsuit states that the project was "actually fifteen million less at the time of this call that it had been when Universal had first sent the draft producer agreement to Moritz's counsel in May 2018."
Moritz now seeks a jury trial to reinstate his position as lead producer on the project or, as stated in the complaint, "Universal will also be liable to Moritz for tens of millions of additional dollars in reputational damage that he will inevitably suffer if the studio fails to fully credit him as the lead producer on the Picture."
The last minute changes hit just when Moritz was about to fly to the UK for the filming, while his production executive Amanda Lewis, who will help oversee the project, and her family had already moved to London on Universal's dime.
This lawsuit could delay the filming for a little bit but if everything gets settled fast, "Hobbs and Shaw" will still be able to race to the big screens in North America on 2 August 2019 as scheduled.