As per The Hollywood Reporter, Legendary Entertainment chairman and CEO Thomas Tull has stepped down from his position amidst pressure from the company’s new owner. Tull founded the company in 2005 — with its first film being Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins — but in early 2016, he sold Legendary to Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group for a reported $3.5 billion, the largest purchase by a Chinese company of an American studio. Tull originally stayed onboard as the company’s CEO, but things just haven’t seemed to click between all parties involved.
Under Tull’s oversight, the company produced such films as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Man of Steel, Watchmen, The Hangover films, Pacific Rim and 2014’s Godzilla, the latter two of which Tull personally championed.
THR reports that Tull’s resignation is in response to Wanda’s frustration over his management, as well as Legendary’s latest projects, like the upcoming The Great Wall (which has been under fire for it’s casting of Matt Damon in the lead) and the in-production Pacific Rim: Uprising (which just today announced its composer). However, while Tull will no longer be CEO, he will still stay involved as a producer on Legendary’s “Monsterverse” films — which include Kong: Skull Island, the aforementioned Godzilla and it’s sequels, and the upcoming Kong vs. Godzilla — as well as the company’s latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune.
The following is Thomas Tull’s statement on his resignment:
“Building Legendary has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I have had the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of where the business is going and lead an incredible group of people as we innovated the way we thought about the film and television business, and the possibilities of collaboration between the west and the east. After a year of transition, I know that the Company is stable with great leadership, so at this point I am able to leave and pursue the new interests and endeavors I have been planning.”
Dalian Wanda Group’s CEO and Senior VP of International Investments and Operations, Jack Gao, will reportedly oversee the company for the time being, at least until a new CEO is appointed. Here is what Gao had to say about the transition in the companies’ joint press release:
“We are thankful to Thomas for his founding vision of Legendary as well as his commitment, leadership and partnership this past year. He will forever be part of the company’s already rich legacy and powerful DNA. As we move forward, Wanda aims to transform Legendary into a next generation studio of the future with a far-reaching creative and global platform. We look forward to working with the creative team to manage our already viable film slate with more to come in the near future.”
As a fan of the majority of the films Tull had a hand in, I’m a little disappointed to see him go, especially after learning that his fandom for Pacific Rim and Godzilla (two films I absolutely loved) was key in getting each those films made. The good news it that he will at least still be involved in some form with the continuations of these franchises.
Kong: Skull Island hits theaters March 10, 2017, and will be followed by Godzilla: King of Monsters, scheduled to release on March 22, 2019, and Kong vs. Godzilla, slated for May 29, 2020. Pacific Rim: Uprising arrives in theaters on February 3, 2018.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter