Legendary Sends Warner Brothers Packing
Warner Brothers is having a rather tumultuous week. Just the other day, it was announced that Jeff Robinov was vacating his position as President. His contract was due to expire the end of this year, but the comic book movie supporter opted to bail several months early. Today, more negative news (depending on who you are) has been thrown at the studio. It has been suspected for some time now that Legendary Entertainment would not be renewing their contract with WB. Legendary has been a co-financier and co-distributor for many of WB’s films for the better part of eight years, but the studio will be looking to join forces with Fox, Universal or Sony.
Thomas Tull, owner of Legendary Entertainment, is hoping to have a new deal set up by July 4th weekend and whichever studio they opt to partner with would need to “’help fulfill the grand vision’ he has to build a larger entertainment company that produces not just films, but TV shows, digital content and publishes comic books that appeal to fans of genre fare.” Sources say that things seem to be moving well with NBCUniversal, but there is still another meeting with the folks at Fox. Universal would be a good fit for Legendary, with the parks it owns being a good home for attractions centered on some of the properties that Legendary is producing and financing on its own.
“Pacific Rim” is the first of several big budget tent-poles that Legendary is looking to produce as it attempts to develop a slate of films it mostly owns. It covered 75% of the costs on “Pacific Rim” and next summer’s “Godzilla,” for example. Its upcoming program includes “300: Rise of an Empire” (which just had its released date moved back to next March from August)’ fantasy pic “Seventh Son;” an untitled cyber thriller starring Chris Hemsworth that Michael Mann is helming; video game adaptation “Warcraft;” thriller “As Above So Below;” and supernatural actioner “Spectral.”
Legendary has a lot riding on Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming Pacific Rim, which opens next month. The film, which has a budget that goes over the $200 million mark, has a big hill to climb to get people excited about it, despite its on-going promotion since last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The film hasn’t been tracking as well as they’d like, with more folks interested in Sony’s Grown Ups 2, starring Adam Sandler. Some going as far as to compare the robots vs. aliens film to Saban’s Power Rangers. Because of this, we can expect a good sized marketing blitz from Warner Brothers, which is a 25% investor and co-distributor.
Legendary, and the now absent Jeff Robinov, have played a big part in WB’s production of DC comic book movies, including the recent box office hit Man of Steel and Christopher Nolan’s iconic Batman trilogy. Having said that, I don’t think WB will have any issues in producing more films centered on DC comic characters.
Source : Variety