Deadline reports that Fast & Furious franchise producer Neal Moritz sued Universal for breach of oral contract and promissory fraud after being removed as a producer on the Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham Hobbes & Shaw spinoff.
The Hobbs & Shaw film is currently in production and Neal Moritz is requesting to be reinstated as the lead producer of the Fast & Furious spinoff or be paid out in “tens of millions dollars in damages in lost compensation”. The 20-page filing made filing made in Los Angeles Superior Court, which seeks a jury trial, partially reads as follows:
“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 document asserts that Mortiz was effectively dropped on September 7 after refusing to accept a significant reduction in his overall compensation:
“Indeed, Universal has claimed that it can move forward with Hobbs and Shawwithout providing Moritz with any credit or compensation. 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.”
According to the complaint, the verbal agreement in which Mortiz was to earn “$2 million in fixed compensation applicable against a 6% first dollar gross participation” stemmed from frequent conversations with Universal Pictures chair Langley and Universal Pictures president Jimmy Horowitz, which began with the first Hobbs and Shaw pitch that occurred last spring with writer Chris Morgan.
A spinoff of The Fate of the Furious, focusing on Johnson’s US Diplomatic Security Agent Luke Hobbs forming an unlikely alliance with Statham’s Deckard Shaw.
Directed by David Leitch from a script written by Chris Morgan, Hobbs & Shaw stars Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, and Idris Elba.
Hobbs & Shaw will be released in theaters on August 2, 2019.