Hot on the heels of the news of him mounting a “Cliffhanger” remake, producer Neal Moritz has reportedly been dropped from the “Fast and Furious” franchise by Universal Pictures.
THR reports that a legal dispute has resulted in Moritz being banished from the franchise, including the already shot and nearly completed spin-off film “Hobbs and Shaw” and the ninth main film which begins shooting in a few weeks.
Moritz has a pay-or-play deal with the studio, meaning he gets paid for the films regardless of whether or not he’s involved in the production. The relationship is reportedly so contentious that they’re effectively willing to pay him to stay away.
Moritz claims he was integral in coming up with the idea for “Hobbs and Shaw” with franchise writer Chris Morgan, and contends Universal owes him a $2 million fee and first-dollar gross (a percentage of the gross box office revenue from a film’s first day of release) for “Hobbs and Shaw” as part of his overall deal for the franchise.
A studio insider tells the trade they have ‘a long, torturous history’ of legal battles with Moritz with every single film in the franchise, and when Moritz reportedly named Universal president Jimmy Horowitz personally in the ‘Hobbs’ suit that was the final straw.
The franchise has pulled in over $5.1 billion in box office receipts worldwide to date.