EXCLUSIVE: Over two years after they started to take legal bites out of each other over the big lizard, Legendary Pictures and producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison have come to a settlement. No details of the agreement were made public, but paperwork was filed today to dismiss the complaints filed by both sides in 2013. This all comes just over a month before the Godzilla case was to go to trial in L.A. Superior Court on July 7.
The battle between Thomas Tull’s studio and the trio of producers over the Warner Bros-distributed pic all became public when Legendary filed a complaint to remove Lin, Lee and Davison from the mega-monster reboot with a bloodless $25,000 payout on January 9, 2013, According to Legendary, the 5-figures dough was all the three were due under the March 2011 Producer Loan Agreement between them and Legendary. Lin, Lee and Davison, who Tull’s company claimed were about to seek a temporary restraining order against the movie, wasted no time responding and filed a breach-of-contract cross complaint on January 17, 2013.
Not willing to take the small payout and go quietly, the trio were seeking millions in compensatory damages, screen credit, and participation in not just Godzilla, but also sequels, prequels, or further remakes for the work they say they did in helping Legendary acquire rights to the character from Toho, the Japanese corporation that owns the big guy. Lee, Lin and Davison also said they were instrumental in getting the movie up and running – and this was before the pic came out on May 16, 2014 and went on to make over $528 million worldwide.
After months of back and fourths, court appearances and then months of seemingly fruitless court-ordered mediation, a California Appeals Court judge last March rejected Legendary’s attempt to keep the matter private in arbitration. A start date for an estimated 10-day trial was scheduled. Now that’s going to soon disappear from the court calendar and we’ll never get a look inside what went down.
Stanton L. Stein of LA’s Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor was the primary attorney for Lin, Lee and Davison. Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP represented Legendary in the matter.