Just under a year from now, Legendary Pictures is set to face off at trial against producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison in a battle over the trio being ejected from Godzilla. Having failed to keep the matter in arbitration, the studio used a motion filed last week to try to gut the producers’ claims of fraud in a cross-complaint, but the other side isn’t buying this latest move. “I think [Legendary is] very vulnerable,” says the producers’ main lawyer Stanton L. Stein of LA’s Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor. “I think they will do anything to slow down this going to trial, just like they have tried and failed in the past. They needed that property, and they used us to get it. They specified $1.3 million, first-dollar gross and a producer credit,” he adds of the deal his clients had with the studio to shepherd the Godzilla reboot all the way to the big screen. “They promised it and never delivered.”
Legendary is taking an offensive approach with the motion it filed last week. “They claim that (Jon) Jashni and Legendary never intended to perform on promises allegedly made in 2009 and early 2010 that Cross-Complainants would be ‘well-treated’ on the Film and would be compensated and credited as its producers,” says the May 30 demurrer motion (read it here) from Legendary’s lawyers at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP. Claiming that emails proclaiming such good treatment were just an opinion on the exec’s part, Legendary has sought a July 31 hearing on the motion. With potentially millions at stake, the trial between the parties is set to start on May 17, 2015. While all this legal warfare has been going on, Godzilla came out May 16 and has made more than $375 million worldwide.