The veteran Aussie writer-director, who launched the Mad Max franchise in 1979 with Mel Gibson in the title role, claims the studio was contracted to pay him a $7 million bonus if the Tom Hardy-Charlize Theron sequel came in at a final cost of less than $157M. Miller vows that he is entitled to the bonus, but WB says the film went over budget due to decisions that he says forced substantial changes and delays to the sequel.
“We disagree and will vigorously defend against these claims,” Warner Bros said in a statement to Deadline.
Warner Bros attempted to get the suit, launched without fanfare in September, moved out of Australia, but the Aussie Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the case will be litigated Down Under.
Miller’s move will test an Australian consumer law regarding the studio’s allegedly deceptive moves in making a deal without telling Miller how added costs would factor into budget calculations.
The filmmaker, whose credits include the Babe and Happy Feet films, also is challenging Warners’ move to pact with RatPac Entertainment to help finance the movie, which won six Oscars last year. Miller says he and the studio had a deal giving his company the first chance to supply that funding.
The suit first was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.