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George Miller goes to war with Warner Bros. over profits for Mad Max: Fury Road

Max Rockatansky, the leather-wearing road warrior played by Mel Gibson and later Tom Hardy, has been mad for years. Now it’s his creators who are angry.

It has been revealed that George Miller, the Academy Award-winning director of the Mad Max movies, is suing Warner Bros. over profits for Mad Max: Fury Road. Miller is the joint director, along with long-time Mad Max producer Doug Mitchell, of the production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell, which has launched legal proceedings against the Hollywood studio.

The court case became apparent after the Supreme Court of NSW ruled that this dispute, which concerns earnings Miller and Mitchell believe the studio owe them, should be arbitrated in Australia rather than in California. Warner Bros. would prefer the matter to be settled in America.

The impending case helps explain why another Mad Max movie has not yet been announced, despite George Miller stating in many interviews that scripts for two more films are done and dusted. One is for a straight-up Fury Road sequel called The Wasteland, and the other a prequel focused on Imperator Furiosa.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported some details of the case so far:

Justice David Hammerschlag said the agreement to make Fury Road included a condition that Kennedy Miller Mitchell would receive a $US7 million bonus if “the final net cost” of the movie was not more than $US157 million, after certain costs were excluded from calculations.

“On [Warner Bros’] calculations, Mad Max went over budget,” Justice Hammerschlag said. “If these calculations are right, [Kennedy Miller Mitchell] does not get a bonus.

“[But the production company] claims [Warner Bros] made a series of decisions which caused substantial changes and delays to Mad Max, which led to additional costs and expenses and that [the studio] wrongly took them into account in its over-budget calculation.

“If those costs are left out of account [Kennedy Miller Mitchell] says that Mad Max came in under budget.”

Whatever happens, let’s hope the legal stoush will not result in us seeing less of Max Rockatansky.

After famously overcoming a range of setbacks, which resulted in Fury Road falling over multiple times, the film went on to become a huge critical success. It won six Academy Awards (the most of any Australian film in history) and is widely regarded as one of the best action movies of the 21st century.