Fast & Furious producer sues Universal over Hobbs and Shaw
Moritz is suing for breach of oral contract and promissory fraud after being tossed out from the upcoming Fast & Furious spinoff. The filing this morning from Attorney Dale Kinsella at the Los Angeles Superior Court read that “this case presents a classic example of Hollywood greed.” Moritz is demanding to be reinstated as lead producer on the spinoff, or be paid “tens of millions of dollars in lost compensation” from the studio.
Part of the complaint, which you can read here, says: “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 complaint explains that Moritz was dropped on September 7 from the project after the producer did not agree to the reduction in compensation. The document also claims that there was a verbal deal made with Universal’s chair Donna Langley and president Jimmy Horowitz that Mortiz would receive “$2 million in fixed compensation applicable against a 6% first dollar gross participation.”
Mortiz and his entertainment lawyer Howard Abramson were supposedly told on August 6, however, that the studio wanted to “change Mortiz’s deal on Hobbs and Shaw to a post-breakeven pool.” The complaint asserts that the participation pool proposed by Universal was “far worse financially for Mortiz than any other pool participation he had ever received on any film in the FF franchise.”
“Horowitz’s purported excuse for asking to change Moritz’s first dollar gross deal was that the Picture’s budget had supposedly increased,” but “on information and belief, the budget for Hobbs and Shaw 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, which contained the first dollar gross deal to which the parties had orally agreed,” the filing says.
Universal has not yet commented on the multi-claim filing. Hobbs and Shaw is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 2, 2019.